Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure or hostility. Although anger is a basic human emotion, feeling angry can be a problem for parents.
Being a parent is a tough job. It can be stressful, and lasts 24 hours a day. Unlike most jobs, there is no training on how to parent. Children are not born with an instruction book.
Many of the stresses that we all face, like job, marriage, or money stress, seem worse when we have a crying baby who does not sleep much. Babies and young children are very demanding. This can be hard to deal with when there is no one for parents to turn to for a break from the kids. Relatives may live far away and parents may not know neighbors well enough.
Many parents feel angry when they are stressed. But feeling angry and doing something when angry are two different things. When there are serious problems within a family, everyone in the family may feel angry much of the time. The anger becomes a big problem and guilt about it adds to the problem. Most people who hit their children in anger feel more stress than they can handle.
Stay in control and keep calm. Take a "time out" by separating yourself from your child. You may go to your room or send your child to theirs. Take advantage of the time and space to cool off. Provide a good example for your child.
It helps to follow a 2 step process:
Another technique is to offer a choice: "You have a choice. Either you put the toys away, or I will put them away and you will not be able to play with them for 1 week." Stick with your decision.
If your anger gets the best of you, turn on some music, take a nap, go for a walk, or call a friend. Talking with a sympathetic friend, spouse, healthcare provider, or therapist about life stresses can help you calm down. It may help to learn relaxation techniques. The 3 basics of relaxation are:
Self-statements can also be helpful. Some helpful self-statements are:
Time-outs can also be useful.
If you are afraid that you or someone else will hit, shake, or otherwise hurt your child, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.
You can get in touch with a local support group in your area by contacting: