What to do when you feel angry with your child?

Do you ever feel angry with your child? Do you have moments where you feel frustration bubbling up inside, like a storm is coming? And are you wondering what to do when being angry with your child?These are feelings many parents struggle with from time to time. At least I do at times feel angry or upset. Aletha Solter writes about this:

“Even with sufficient support, all parents feel like hurting their children at times”.

Luckily feeling like hurting, doesn’t mean you have to act hurtful.
So the question is: what to do when you’re being angry with your child, when you feel angry with your child and when you want to avoid hurting your child, wether it is emotional of physical? How to deal with your anger constructively?
In this article I’m sharing with you a way of bringing back connection and understanding, when you’re feeling angry with your child.

Let your anger be your vehicle to bring connection and understanding

When you want to move away from anger as a destructive force, to use anger as a vehicle to bring connection and understanding, then, you first have to start with deeply and compassionately understanding that anger. Start by listening to what your anger is telling you, before you express it and communicate it. Think about it: if you have never been to a zoo or even have seen one in a book, it’s hard to describe the experience of a zoo. 

Where does your anger come from? There can be all kinds of things at play in your daily life: Are you currently feeling so overwhelmed by the challenges of life? Do you have a lot on your mind? Are there big things happening? A new job, a new home, a loved one who died? Or are you feeling a bit sick, with a lack of sleep or have you just not eaten well? 

As Marshall Rosenberg says:

“Anger can be a wonderful wake up call to help you understand what you need and what you value. Use anger as a wake-up call to unmet needs.

In other words: because you feel angry, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t loving your child and also it doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent. It just means you’re having an unmet need.

The first step thus is to treat yourself with love and compassion, so you can uncover that unmet need. This can bring you more clarity of what is going on in you and why you are feeling angry and upset. Identifying your needs (and promising yourself to take care of them), can help you to feel calmer. You might still feel angry, but not in a way you want to act out or hide it deeply in yourself. 

In action

So next time you feel feelings of anger and frustration bubbling up, try to take a time-out. Gently pause yourself. I invite you to be gentle with yourself. Uncover your unmet needs. What do you need?Do you need someone to listen to your feelings? Do you need help in your household or your job? Do you need time for yourself?
Have a joyful day!


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About the author:

Hi! My name is Chris Muller, MSc, BTA. I am a psychologist, counselor in Transactional Analysis, Aware Parenting instructor (level 2) regional coordinator the Netherlands and mother. For 10 years I provide support to parents through training, the Aware Parenting Education and 1-on-1 guidance. With a lot of love I help you to treat children AND yourself with love and respect. It is my passion that you experience more joy and more connection with your child AND with yourself! X