Anger is common today for all the reasons listed below.
However, it is not an excuse to continue being angry.
Anger can easily be managed with cognitive and behavioural tools which are simple to learn and apply.
Once you learn how to master your anger, you will have better relationships with your children, and you will all be happier.
Here are five common reasons that parents get angry with their children.
1. Because they are tired
Being tired and being angry go hand in hand. When you are tired your fuse becomes short. It is that simple. However, it is not always easy to remedy.
One of the reasons parents feel tired is because they are not getting enough sleep. Are you having broken sleep because your children do not sleep through? Unless your children are still babies, or are unwell, you should be able to help them sleep through the night. Contact a child care specialist (parenting and sleep care) who can help you.
Another reason parents are tired is because they are over-scheduled. Put simply, parents in today’s generation feel the need to be busy constantly and therefore line up activities every day including weekends. It is important to have down time. Prioritise activities so that you have enough time to unwind at the end of the day and on weekends.
2. Stress and overload
Many parents work long hours and find it difficult to juggle all their roles.
When parents are overloaded, they want life to run smoothly so that they can get things done as quickly as possible and can move on to the next thing. If you are in this situation, be aware when it is your stress that is causing you to snap at your child rather than his behaviour.
Work on lowering your stress, so that your child does not cop it unnecessarily. You can do this in several ways. The first is to think deeply about whether you need to work so hard and if, perhaps, you can work less and cut down on other things. Either way, be more organised, plan ahead, cook in bulk, wake up earlier, do whatever it takes to be more efficient and on top of things. Often it is our disorganisation rather than our actual lives that cause stress.
3. The wish for perfection
We live in an age where there’s a perception that perfection is attainable. It is not.
You may not even be aware that you have unrealistic expectations of your child. From today, take note of your thought patterns. Do you compare your child’s drawings to others at the preschool and feel disappointed when hers is not the most colourful? Do you push your child when he gets average marks at school? Do you yell when she misses a goal at soccer? Are you upset that your child does not excel in every subject and only excels in some?
When you let go of the need for perfection, your anger will dissipate.
4. The desire for instant gratification
It is not only children who cannot wait for things to take their normal course, adults in this generation struggle with it too. Just like the microwave can cook a meal in 20 minutes, many parents want their children to be grown up and mature straight away.
Again, you may be oblivious that you have this issue so take a moment to consider. Are you intolerant of your child’s babyish behaviour and lack of control? Do you get frustrated when you need to repeat things until she grasps them? Do you rationalise with your child and expect him to see things the way you do? Are you disappointed when your child makes mistakes?
If so, then underneath these feelings is the expectation that your child could operate at an adult level like you do. Remind yourself daily that your child will take many years to be an adult … just like you did. Your role is to educate your child, inspire and facilitate optimal growth so that in the right time he will be mature, rational and co-operative.
5. Society teaches us that anger is power
It is powerful, rich, aggressive people with guns who are seen to be potent while peace loving, accommodating people are depicted as being left behind. This is a legacy of the survival of the fittest evolutionary theory.
This societal belief is the underlying reason that a majority of parents get angry – because they believe that anger is the only way to get what they want If you have got into the trap of using anger to force your child to behave, know it is a short-term solution with long-term negative ramifications. You are not in an evolutionary race with your child. Nor is your life at risk. You are required to motivate and educate your child to be a decent adult and being angry will not bring that result.
Children respond to anger with fear and so your anger seems to work. However, the truth is that in meaningful relationships, you achieve more with honey. Not only will your child hear your message more if it is said in a calm, reasonable manner but your child will learn the message behind the instruction.
As a loving parent, it is preferable to use effective, non-coercive ways of gaining your child’s cooperation. It may take a bit longer initially but the results will be constructive and long term.
Image credit: yanlev/123RF Stock Photo