Dealing with Anger as a Parent

Yeshaya Kraus, LCSW on Apr 27, 2023 in Relationship and Family

Parents sometimes lose their tempers with their children. It happens. Parents are only human. That said, we can try to make it happen less if we understand what’s going on behind the scenes.

What makes people angry? What makes parents angry? Generally, people become angry because they have an agenda that is disrupted by someone or something else. Being a parent, by nature, means there’s at least one agenda in play. That agenda is raising your kids according to your personal set of values. Also in play is probably the parent’s agenda to make things just a bit easier for themself.

Now that we have an idea of what makes parents angry, what’s the next step? How can we address that anger? There are a few possibilities.

Take a step back. If you need to, leave the room. Hold your reaction off until you’re able to see the situation more objectively. You can even announce that this is what you’re doing. Once you calm down, you may decide that your gut reaction might not have been so productive.

If you need to react right then and there, take a minute to reflect what you’re seeing. “I see you staying on the couch with your tablet, and I just told you to shower.” Describing what you’re seeing takes a few seconds and helps to ground you. Then say how you’re feeling about it. Try to be as accurate as possible. “I feel angry and frustrated because I see you not following instructions.” By doing this, you’re making yourself wait before reacting. You’re also modeling appropriate expressions of feelings.

When you notice yourself starting to get upset, take a minute to think about what’s triggering you. Is it a challenge to a parental agenda? A personal agenda? If you’re able to figure it out, you may be able to react more effectively.

Try these ideas out! You may be pleasantly surprised by how much less stress you feel and how your relationship with your child improves.

Yeshaya Kraus is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in FAR ROCKAWAY, NY.

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