Do you find yourself yelling at your kids a lot these days? Does it seem like you just can’t get through to them without raising your voice?
If you’re wondering how to stop being an angry mom, then I have a few tools to help you.
As mothers, we have a lot of responsibilities on our plates daily. Whether you’re a working or stay-at-home mom, you still have to raise your kids and care for the home.
It’s no wonder some women find themselves being angry moms due to the daily stress of raising kids and trying to do it all.
Before we can talk about how you can stop being an angry mom, we first need to look at why you’re getting angry so easily in the first place.
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Why do moms get angry and lose their temper so easily with their kids?
Mothers get angry and lose their temper with their kids for many reasons.
Some of those include frustrations from their kids not listening, being overwhelmed with the demands of motherhood, taking out work stress on their family, or worrying about finances.
Let’s look deeper into each of these reasons.
Frustration when kids don’t listen
Sometimes children don’t follow the rules we’ve set for them. It’s their nature to push our boundaries.
When this happens, we can get very frustrated or angry with them as mothers.
We may even see it as a personal failure on our part, which can make our frustrations worse.
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You’re overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood
Whether you’re a working or stay-at-home mom, motherhood can be demanding.
You have to juggle caring for the home with raising kids, while also carving out time for yourself and your relationship.
I spoke to Erin Reyburn, a licensed marriage & family therapist. She had this to say about how being overwhelmed with the demands of motherhood can lead to becoming an angry mom.
“Being a mom is demanding emotionally, physically, and relationally! Kids are needy, and only know to go to their primary caregiver (usually moms) to get their needs met.
this can be both wonderful and exhausting for a mother.
Life doesn’t stop just because you have kids.
Women are expected to give in all areas of their life. They’re expected to be the primary caretaker, so something is generally always being asked of them.
We all have breaking points and anger tells us our boundaries are being challenged. Anger isn’t a bad thing, it’s information, and how we handle that information is what matters”.
Lack of self-regulation from unprocessed childhood trauma
Robin Stoltman, a certified hypnotherapist (CCHt) specializing in PTSD, anxiety & fear said that unprocessed childhood trauma can lead to someone becoming an angry mom.
If you don’t learn how to handle stress in a healthy way as a child, you’ll grow up to become an adult who reacts in anger when stressed.
According to her “an example of a mom experiencing childhood trauma is being yelled at themselves as a child by either parent.
That child will become a mom who doesn’t have the ability to handle stress in a healthy way.
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Struggle with work-life balance
The struggle with work-life balance is a big reason most moms become angry and lash out at their families.
It’s nearly impossible for us to leave our work at work, especially if we have a demanding job with lots of responsibilities.
Somehow, that stress will follow you home, and you’ll take it out on your kids and spouse if you don’t have a healthy outlet for it.
Worried about finances
Nothing puts more stress on a family than money worries. Worrying about bills and other financial responsibilities can poke a hole in relationships.
It can even lead to lashing out at your kids.
Now that we know some of the reasons you’re getting so angry easily, let’s look at how your anger as a mom can negatively affect your kids.
What effect does being an angry mother have on your child?
Being an angry mom has many negative effects on your kids. It will make your kids walk on eggshells around you, and they will no longer feel safe expressing themselves in the home.
In some cases, your kids may even become afraid of you. Being an angry mom can also teach your kids that anger is the only way to express themselves. They will lose trust in you eventually.
Let’s take a look at each one in detail
It makes your kids walk on eggshells at home
Kids who are raised in an angry environment will never be comfortable in their homes. They will always be on edge, because of fear.
As someone who was raised in an angry home, I was always worried about doing something to cause another outburst in my parents.
I never felt comfortable around them because of it, so I spent most of my time in my room avoiding all physical interactions as much as I could.
Prevents your kids from expressing themselves
When your children become afraid of triggering your anger with everything they do, they turn into people who can’t express themselves both physically and emotionally.
Ms. Stoltman, CCHt says “the effects of being an angry mom is having children who have unhealthy relationships with themselves and others.
These children typically grow up to become people pleasers who lack self-esteem and self-worth.
When a child is so afraid of setting off their parent’s anger, they will do whatever they can to make them happy.
This often means ignoring their desires, feelings, and opinions to please you. This could continue into adulthood and affect their future relationships.
Anger has physical effects on children
Other effects of being an angry mom on your kids include causing them digestion problems, depression, and sleep problems. Kids can also experience anxiety that their brains can’t get under control.
Ms. Stoltman, CCHt says “anxiety is normal because it’s part of the fight/flight survival portion of the brain.
However, when children are stuck in a state of constant anxiety (because they don’t know when the next angry outburst will occur), it heightens their nervous system to always be on high alert for the next attack”.
Loss of trust in the parents
When your child becomes afraid of you, they won’t be able to trust you enough to confide in you in their time of need.
Some parents make the mistake of using what their kids tell them in confidence against them when they’re angry.
They may even reveal a secret to everyone else in an attempt to shame the child into behaving next time.
Teaches your kids that anger is the best way to respond to stress
If all your kids ever see is an angry mom, they will learn that anger is the only way to respond to stress.
They will copy your behavior and respond in an unhealthy way when stressed. If this behavior is not managed early, they may carry it into adulthood.
Now that you understand the effects of your anger on your children, let’s learn some effective ways to control our anger towards our kids.
How can I control my anger towards my child?
Realize that you’re not angry at them. You’re angry at their behavior
One effective way to control your anger towards your child is to realize that you’re not really angry at them as a person. What you’re angry at is their behavior.
These are two totally different things. This mindset makes it easy to find ways to reshape unwanted behavior and help them learn better ones.
Let’s say the undesirable behavior is refusing to do their chores.
To work on this, I’ll talk to them about my frustrations and together we’ll come up with a list of rewards and consequences that they chose.
This way, they’re more motivated to complete the task knowing that the reward is something they actually want.
Treat your children like a guest in your home
Chelsea Richardson, educator and parenting expert suggests we should try this mindset “treat your kids like a guest in your home.
Ex: Would you tell a guest: “Move out of the way! Pick that up! I can’t believe you spilled the milk again!!!!!”
Or would you say, “Could you please move to the left a bit?… Do you mind grabbing that for me?… Oh don’t worry about the milk, there is plenty more, I’ll go grab a towel!”
The second list of responses is more forgiving and loving.
Kids will be more inclined to help resolve the matter, and less inclined to retreat, feel defeated, and begin crying when you are gentle with them.
Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing helps to slow the autonomic nervous system response.
If you regularly practice deep breathing when you’re not stressed, it’ll be the first thing you turn to when you do get stressed.
With time, you’ll find yourself pausing and taking calming breaths when you feel your anger coming up.
We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t give from an empty cup”.
When we’re constantly giving to our families and neglect taking care of our emotional, physical and mental health, anger and resentment will be the result.
You can’t expect to have emotional strength if you aren’t making self-care a necessity. We tend to be able to tolerate more when we feel fulfilled.
Expecting to receive that primarily through parenting is an unrealistic expectation, so make connecting with yourself and other healthy adults a priority.
Find a hobby that makes you feel fulfilled. Check out this post on the best hobbies for SAHMs
Find a support system
We all know it takes a village to raise a child. Historically, we lived in tribes, it’s important to not expect to do life and parenting alone.
Sometimes our village can be friends, family, and even neighbors.
Ask for help when you’re overwhelmed.
Make sure your spouse is pulling their weight at home. If you can afford to hire a sitter so you can get a break, then do so.
You can also get someone to help you clean. A meal delivery service could help reduce your load as well. Do whatever you can do to get a break for yourself.
If you need to find more mom friends, check out this post 10+ Proven Ways To Make Mom Friends (Loneliness No More)
Change your mindset about why you’re angry
The American Psychological Institute calls this “cognitive restructuring’. This basically means, trying to change your thought process when angry.
Let’s say you were angry at your child for crashing the car.
Your thought process at that moment might be “he’s always so careless. He never listens. Why is he so disrespectful? What did I do wrong as a parent? etc.”
Instead of going down the rabbit hole of a negative thought, try thinking a little more rationally. You might say to yourself.
“I’m feeling so frustrated right now because of the damage to the car. My son could have gotten seriously hurt. Getting angry will not solve the problem right now so I’m going to try to calm down.”
The second statement acknowledges your emotions without letting them take over you.
Express your anger in an assertive (not aggressive manner)
Try to catch your anger building before you get to your boiling point. Anger is just a signal, so respect its subtle cues.
If you feel the impulse to lash out and yell, it’s okay to express that energy, just redirect it to something else (screaming in a pillow, hitting a pillow, going on a run, etc.)
Consider getting into individual therapy
An inability to control your anger may stem from childhood trauma. This trauma may get triggered by the actions of your children.
As parents, we need to do whatever we can to avoid passing on our personal struggles to our kids. We don’t want them to repeat the cycles of our past.
This is where therapy can help. A licensed professional can give you the tools you need to cope with your anger, and help you find ways to communicate more effectively with your children.
How can I be a better parent without yelling? (Other ways to manage your anger)
Identify your triggers beforehand
Most parents yell at their kids for specific reasons.
Figure out what you are most likely to yell about. Is it dirty dishes in the sink, a messy house, or not completing homework?
Whatever your triggers are, it’s essential to make a mental note of them. You also want to note the time of day that you’re more likely to yell.
Do you yell more in the evening time when you’re tired from work? Do you yell in the mornings more?
Knowing the “when” will help you find ways to destress during those times so you will be less triggered by whatever your kids do.
Find ways to manage your triggers
Once you know your triggers, plan ahead and ask yourself, “What will I do in these moments instead of yelling?”
This is an important step. You need to find one or two alternative actions you can do before you start yelling.
One action could be taking a purposeful pause. Another can be squeezing a stress ball. If one of your triggers is incomplete homework, then send your kids reminders to help them get started.
If the trigger is a messy house, keep an assigned chore chart on the wall so your kids will know what needs to be done that day.
Janet Philbin, LCSW and parenting coach suggests that parents take a purposeful pause when they feel the need to yell.
Take a purposeful pause when you’re angry
To take a purposeful pause you begin by taking a breath. Experience what you are feeling and ask yourself, “whose need is being met in this moment if I open my mouth to yell?”
If it is your own need, figure out how to meet your needs without projecting them onto your child.
Once you’ve met your need, then ask your child, “what do you need at this moment? What will be most helpful? How can I support you?”.
Children are more likely to open up when they feel that you’re willing to listen and support them.
Establish clear boundaries
When your children understand the behaviors you will tolerate and those you won’t, they will be more likely to cooperate with your rules.
Hold your children to a higher standard. This means correcting behaviors right when they’re happening.
This enables them to learn on the spot and fix things. Don’t wait until hours or days later when they’ve forgotten what they did wrong before bringing it up again.
Use rewards instead of punishment
Sometimes parents focus more on punishing bad behaviors than rewarding good ones. Punishment never works and results in more yelling.
Come up with a set of desirable rewards for your child when they follow the rules. Make sure that your child is involved in picking these rewards. They’ll be more likely to follow your rules them.
Highlight their positive behaviors. Make it a big deal when they do something well.
For example, if your child folds his laundry when he previously never did, make sure you praise them. Tell everyone who cares to listen how proud you are of them.
With time, they will come to do more positive things without expecting praise.
Find more ways to connect with your child
Sometimes children try to get their need for attention met by their parents through unwanted behaviors.
They will act out to get a rise out of you if that’s the only way they will get your attention.
To them, negative attention is better than none at all. So make sure that you find ways to connect with your child each day.
Do something they love with them.
Play sports together, watch a TV show, play cards, talk, etc. Whatever helps them feel closer to you will help fill that attention gap.
One thing I want you to remember is that every mom yells sometimes. There is no such thing as a perfect mother.
So give yourself some grace if you feel like you’re an angry mom.
Just because you lose your temper and yell at your kids does not make you a bad mom. The fact that you’re here seeking help, lets me know that you are committed to change.
It’s so easy for us to focus on our shortcomings sometimes. It’s the way the human mind works.
We don’t often notice the positive things we do. We only notice our failures. So try to highlight the things you do that make you a good mom.
If you need to, make a list of 5-10 things you do for your family that makes you a great mom. Refer back to that list whenever you start feeling like an angry mom is all you are.
The biggest thing is to learn a lot of self-forgiveness if you are an angry mom. It takes practice to get better, so take it one day at a time.
Make sure you’re implementing all the strategies listed above.
I hope that with time and effort, you will figure out how to stop being an angry mom and stop yelling at your children.
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