When did I become an Angry Parent?

While I’ve tried to be honest and transparent about my life (particularly as a mum), there have been some things I haven’t spoken about. Things like my experiences growing up. Due to a number of factors through my childhood and adolescence, I’ve developed a lot of deep-seeded anger that can boil over. It usually happens during inconsequential events, such as being stuck in traffic or playing video games (where I perceive myself to have been wronged or something doesn’t seem ‘fair’). It results in a barrage of angry words (usually expletives). However, since becoming a mum, I’ve found that my anger has started to rear its big, ugly head around my son – either inadvertently or purposefully. I’m becoming an angry parent.

For example, driving with my son has become a landmine of opportunities for anger to spill over. And especially now more than ever, as my son has started to mimic the words we say, I have to watch what words (or expletives!) I use around him. But it is hard. Being angry for so long means that in certain situations, it becomes second nature. It means that I have to rewire and retrain my brain to respond to those triggers in a different way to avoid the anger boiling over and affecting my son.

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I’ve spoken to my husband numerous times about the kind of mother I don’t want to be – and most importantly, that I DO want to be. I don’t want him to remember his mum as someone who was always angry or yelling because she got annoyed with traffic or with games. I want my son to remember me as a loving, caring, nurturing mum who made him feel safe, protected and loved. In order to be the mum I want to be, it means that I need to change some of those responses, and more importantly, the underlying issues that trigger those angry responses. I recently posted on my Instagram about wanting to be a good role model for my boy, and that all starts now.

Of course, I have spoken to many parents who have been angry with their children – who doesn’t get frustrated when their child doesn’t listen, doesn’t behave, won’t go to sleep (guilty!), does the wrong thing, puts themselves or someone else in danger? We’ve all been there as mothers – it, unfortunately, is natural human instinct to be frustrated around those things (even as a teacher I am working on my frustration with some of those things). However there are ways we can work towards minimising our frustration to the point where it doesn’t boil over around our children. We need to work on keeping a ‘calmness’ in situations where our children are involved, as we are the adults. Are there times when you are an angry parent too? Do you struggle with controlling your anger or responses around your children? 

Before I go on with some suggestions, I would like to state right here and right now that in no way am I talking about anger AT a child. My son is 13 months old – I have never yelled at him (he’s too young to understand) or done anything detrimental to him in any way. I am talking about situations where I have been angry near him but where he is not actually involved). 

Find something that relaxes you

Some people commit to mindfulness practises, others yoga. Some pray (if that fits their belief systems), others go for a walk and exercise. Whatever it is that works for you to relax and unwind your body and mind, make sure you do this regularly. A little while back I was getting into adult colouring books because it helped me to focus on something else. While I love my work, and blogging helps exercise my mind, it can be stressful and provoke anger in me about not getting things done. Choose something that helps you to feel relaxed, as well as removes pressure and stress on you.

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Find relaxation techniques to de-stress

I’ve had many people suggest that meditation or simple counting and breathing techniques can help your body to physically relax, ultimately leading to mental relaxation as well. Things such as ‘hold counting’ (Breathe in – 1, 2, 3  – Hold – 1, 2, 3 – Breathe out – 1, 2, 3 – Hold – 1, 2, 3 – Repeat) or unclenching your body (clench your fists together, then unclench your fists; clench your brows, then unclench; clench your shoulders, then unclench). Even a simple counting to 10, when presented with an anger-provoking trigger, will give you some extra time to relax and handle the situation in a different way.

Have a time-out

When something particularly maddens you (if related to the kids), give yourself a time-out so you don’t explode in front or around the children. Go find the activity that relaxes your or the techniques to destress you, and practise them for 5 minutes before returning to the situation and sorting it out. This will be more beneficial in the long term than responding angrily to a brief situation.

Find a support network

I am very fortunate that my husband is supportive and knows my struggles. He is my accountability partner and reminds me when I need some time to cool off and relax. Find your support network – whether it is your partner, friends or family – to help you in those heated moments and remind you of the need to relax. They will provide you accountability, support and encouragement when you need it. If you’re like me, after you have a brief moment of anger, you then get upset about your anger and break down (we don’t mean to get angry!). Our support network encourages us and reminds us of our positive traits and our mission to be the best parents we can be.

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Talk to a Professional

If you’re concerned about your anger or would like to speak to someone about more advanced techniques, I’d encourage you to see your GP to get a referral to speak to a professional. There’s no shame in seeking out professional help for ways to deal with anger triggers. They can help you unpack why you respond the way you do, and how you can respond differently. Ultimately, it is about doing what is best for our family, so if this involves talkignt o a psychologist, then don’t delay in making that choice.

As I mentioned earlier, anger is a natural response for everyone. Everyone has bad days. Everyone has a particular habit or scenario that ticks them off. What is important is how we manage those situations in front of our kids (or if they involve our kids), to ensure that we can be the best possible parent and role model for them.

Is there a certain scenario or habit that really frustrates you? How do you manage your anger in those situations? I’d love to hear from you below xx

 

I’ve been pretty honest about the last couple of weeks. They’ve sucked. There have been lots of things going on (including new changes) that I have not dealt with very well. Last week was especially tough, because I had a few comments that were directly degrading my character. I’ve tried pretty hard to be a good person – and especially now more than ever, a good role model for Starfish. I know I have many downfalls (don’t we all), but I was pretty hurt by some of the comments I received last week that suggested that I’m not a good person. As a teacher, we always talk about the importance of being a role model for kids – they look up to you and see what you’re doing. They admire you, want to copy you. Now as a mother, I know that this is amplified 100 times over. I hope that he sees that I’m a hard worker; I hope he sees that I’m true to my word; I hope he sees I try to help others as much as I’m able. But I also hope he sees that I take time to look after myself (still a work in process!). I hope he sees that I look after my physical and mental health. Above all, I hope he sees what my priorities are – that he is my world and I’d do anything for him. Like taking this day off last Wednesday to just hang out. This is my commitment to you, little Starfish – I will try and be the best role model I can be for you (no matter what anyone else says), and you, plus daddy, will always be my priority ❤️

A post shared by F i 🌷M u m m y b l o g g e r (@mummamorrison) on

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About Fi Morrison

Fi is a mum to her beautiful, 1-year-old baby boy who she affectionately calls Starfish. She started Mumma Morrison as a way to document her life with her son, but also aims to create a supportive and encouraging community for new and prospective mums. She is returning to part-time teaching in July. Fi and her family live in Sydney.

Comments

  1. I grew up in a home and family where anger was the default emotion and as a result it has become the same for me. A psychiatrist once asked me if I liked being angry (!) and of course I don’t, it’s just that I didn’t know how to express other emotions and how to do it safely and productively. I still get angry at my kids and life in general, but my anger tends to pass quickly and my kids know that it’s not the default emotion. There are way more hugs and “I love you”s than angry outburst. I hope.

    • I can relate to a lot of this, thank you so much for sharing Dorothy. I am definitely aiming towards the extra hugs and I Love You’s. I am also going to try working on some affirmations each night before he goes to bed as a reminder that not only do I love him, but that he should have positive self-talk too x

  2. I think at times all mums need to rewire their brains so we don’t influence our kids in the wrong way. Believe me lovely you are not alone, and I’m sure your son is only going to see you as a loving caring mum as you are aware that you need to work on your anger. It’s the parents who don’t care and never admit that they need to work on themselves that cause their children harm. Your a fabulous mum lovely and don’t you forget it xx

    • Awww thanks for your comment and kind feedback Beck. I agree, I think it is something we can all fall into the trap of, and I think our children are a lot more forgiving of us than we are ourselves sometimes. Thank you for your lovely encouragement! xx

  3. I have the same problem, with time I’ve noticed that I easily get angry over some simple and routine things that never bothered me before. The worst part is I work from home and I’m almost always around my daughter and it truly frustrates me, when I explode near her because I feel like I’m setting a terrible example.
    I found that morning yoga and breathing exercises do help, but my favorite part is to have 30 minutes in the evening that belong only to me. During this time I can relax and let my anger out without anyone being around me.
    Thanks for the article!

    • That’s such a great idea, I’m keen to get into some yoga too. Thank you for sharing your experience and encouraging us that we’re not alone – it happens to all of us! x

  4. I am guilty of getting angry often and it’s something that I’ve worked hard on a lot over the years. Learning to accept that there are just some things beyond my control has helped. Being conscious of my tendencies goes a long way towards helping me change my attitude and mindset, and as I get older it becomes a lot easier to tell myself, and actually believe, that my being angry about something won’t change the fact that it’s happening or the outcome. Reminding myself of this helps me channel that anger in to an activity or state of mind that will allow me to regain some control or change the situation. As an example, I used to get really, really irrationally angry whenever we were running late for something, especially after having kids (why does everything have t take so looooong!!!). I realised that sitting in the car fuming and snapping at anyone that dared speak to me was in no way going to turn back the clock and make things move quicker or get us there any faster, so I’ve learnt to let go. I still have my angry outbursts and quite often it is about irrational things, and I do still worry that the way I behave and react is going to effect my kids, but the fact that my eldest daughter told me last night that I’m the best Mum in the world, I figure I can’t be doing too badly!

    I think you’ve got some great tips here, and more importantly, the fact that you can see this behaviour in yourself and recognise it will go a long way towards controlling it down the line. Also, as your child gets older, being able to talk to them openly about your own behaviour and explain how you’re feeling to your kids and apologise when necessary teaches them so much more than we realise. The fact is everyone gets frustrated and angry, and if we are honest about our struggle with our kids we teach them to be open & honest about how they are feeling and to seek help when they need it. You’re doing a fabulous job xx
    #teamIBOT

    • Wow, thank you for being so honest and open Kylie. It is nice to know that we are not alone in this crazy rollercoaster of motherhood – that in fact all our experiences are shared, and NORMAL. I know that my son helps me to feel loved, and realises when I’m beating myself up because he does something to put a smile on my face; to remind me that he is not judging me.
      Thank you for your wonderful encouragement! xx

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