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Dealing with Parental Anger

Hey Parents, Welcome to the amazing, crazy, messy, and sometimes frustrating world of raising tiny human beings. You must have heard about all the happiness and joys of parenting: the giggles, the first steps, the unconditional love, and the emotional phase of realization that you are a parent now. 




But I know no one really tells us or prepares us for the anger. Yes, that kind of anger that comes from the exhaustion of taking care of a baby and just isn't enough; the kind of anger that makes you want to scream your lungs out—we do that (but into a pillow); the anger that tests our patience and sanity. Well, I think I have described it enough, and I want you to know that normal, amazing, loving parents also get angry at their kids. 


It’s not something to be embarrassed about, but yes it is something that we can manage. Let me tell you all the secrets of being parents. 


When I was new to parenting, my son Edward, was the tiny whirlwind of extreme energy and curiosity that made everyone wonder, “Does he ever calm down”? (In a good way) most of the time. But there were some moments, like the time when he decided to “give a new shape” (in his exact words) to the drawing room with Permanent markers (goodness gracious) where I felt as if my wrath had no control over my body. 


I wanted to yell crazily, scream as if someone had taken my peaceful time away but, yes there should be a but. But I remembered something that I read - All feelings are valid, but some actions need limits. I needed to apply that, so I did. 


Let me tell you a little secret. It is okay to feel this burning wrath inside you, to feel angry, but do not let that anger control your actions. 


So, I calmed myself by taking a few deep breaths and serenely talked to him, well the irony was he understood everything easily. 


Now this isn’t gonna happen all the time, there will be times when you lose your control, you lose your chill, it happens to the best of us. 

I have learned some valuable things that would help you a lot, so take your iPad or your notepad and write these things down.




1. It's Okay to Not Be Okay:


First, I want you to know that parental anger is completely normal. It’s a natural human emotion and pretending that you are not angry, won’t make it go away. Bottling up these emotions can be more damaging in the long run. I want you to acknowledge your anger. It’s real, it’s there. 

The question is. What are you going to do about it? Answer: 


2. Identify Your Triggers:


What are your pet peeves? What gets under your skin? 


Is it constant whining? Annoying battles over bedtime?


The thing is when you know your triggers, it can help you foretell and hopefully avoid circumstances that send you over the edge. For instance, if mornings are chaotic, try prepping breakfast and laying out clothes the night before - it can create a smoother start to the day.


3. Take a Time Out (For Yourself):


I think we all understand this, but acknowledging and reminding this trick is important. Know that before you react in the heat of the moment, take a step back, allow yourself to walk into the bathroom, take a few deep breaths, and calm yourself down. It will allow you to retrieve some composure and then you can calmly approach the situation with a clear head.


4. Express Your Feelings… Safely:


It is perfectly fine to let your kid know that you are feeling irritated or frustrated. You can tell them “I need a few minutes to calm down” or maybe “I am feeling overwhelmed right now”. Remember to steer clear from using hurtful language or the blame game.


5. Tools for the Tantrum (Yours, Not Theirs):


Let’s learn some of the important tools:


  • Instead of a full-blown meltdown, express your frustration with a single, powerful word like "Stop!" or "No!"


  • Sometimes, a loud and clear explanation can be helpful. For example, "Throwing sand is not okay!"


  • Use "I" statements to show your child how their actions make you feel. "I get very upset when I see someone getting hurt!"


  • If the situation demands it, remove your child from a potentially dangerous situation.


6. Reconnect and Repair:


Once everything is cool down, take the time to connect with your child again. Acknowledge their feelings and yours too. Apologize if you lost your temper. Then, together figure out a way to avoid a similar situation soon. 


Was it a lack of sleep on your side?

Did your child not have the tools to handle their irritation?

 

Talk it out and work together to find solutions.


7. You Don't Have to Do It Alone:


Being a parent is a whirlwind of thousands of heart-wrenching emotions with ten times more happiness than you can ever consume. But there are times when you are struggling with your anger and you need to learn how to overcome them, well here are some tips that can help you:


Talk to Your Partner


They say communication is key, it is actually. Share your frustration, experience, and irritation with your partner. They can offer support and a listening ear, or you may develop coping mechanisms together.


Seek Support Groups: This is a great option if you are a single parent. There are many offline and online support groups for parents. Connecting with like-minded people and with someone who is going through the same or has been through it in the near past, they can understand the challenges that you are facing and can be incredibly supportive and helpful.


Consider Therapy: A therapist can also provide a calm safe space to explore the emotions, and the depth of your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with anger or frustration.


8. Taking Care of Yourself is Not Selfish, It's Essential:


Make sure you're taking care of your own physical and mental well-being. Here are some tips:


  • Get Enough Sleep: Sleep deprivation is a major anger trigger for many people. Prioritize getting a good night's sleep whenever possible.


  • Eat Healthy Foods: Nourishing your body with nutritious foods helps regulate your mood and energy levels.


  • Exercise Regularly: Physical activity is a great way to release stress and improve your mood.


  • Time for Yourself: Even if it's just for 15 minutes a day, carve out some time for activities you enjoy, whether it's reading a book, taking a bath, or spending time with friends.

9. Remember, It Gets Easier (Mostly):


The good news is, that as your children grow up, the situations that trigger your anger will likely become less frequent. They'll gain more independence and self-control, and you'll get better at managing your own emotions.


10. Celebrate the Victories (Big and Small):


Don't get so focused on the challenges that you forget to appreciate the good moments. Take a moment to celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Did you get through a meltdown without yelling? Did you manage to stay calm in a frustrating situation?  Acknowledge your progress and give yourself a pat on the back.


Being a parent is a wild ride. There will be ups and downs, tantrums (yours and theirs!), and moments of pure joy.  Remember, you're not alone in this.  There are countless other parents out there who understand the struggles and the triumphs. Embrace the journey, learn from your experiences, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.


Now, go forth and conquer parenthood! You've got this!


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