When a mum has emotional self-regulation, she is a more effective parent.
If we’re in a highly emotional state we can’t and don’t think as clearly as we can and can have a harder time implementing the parenting strategies required at the time. When we can’t implement our strategies effectively our children don’t respond as well.
So the importance of getting control of our emotions is two-fold – It not only benefits our own self and enjoyment of life but it affects our kids.
Anger is an umbrella emotion that covers all the sub emotions such as fury, rage, frustration, indignant, resentful, cross, annoyed, irritated and exasperated to name a few. Even a problem with constantly feeling frustrated is ultimately a problem with anger.
Anger and all of our emotions are normal and healthy until it gets out of control and becomes destructive.
A mum who is always frustrated or exasperated or even just simply constantly annoyed at her kids more often than she is calm and patient more likely has a problem with anger.
Anger, for mums, can be caused by a seemingly endless list of events – the kid’s behaviour, life stress, things on the news, something on Facebook or any of the seemingly daily events that are part of a busy mums life.
And what triggers one mum, does not necessarily trigger another. So it’s really important to stop comparing yourself to those around you! After all, this is your journey through being a mum, not anyone else.
When you’re angry there are physiological changes in your body that occur. Your pulse rate and blood pressure rise and the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol flood your system. All of this is part of the flight or fight response. These physiological changes can also result in behavioural ones.
A mum who is angry will exhibit all different types of behaviours. Yelling is the one that is most common.
Others include ignoring the situation or her child or the person making her angry, hitting things including smacking her child or roughly handling them, throwing things – including toys across the room or simply just walking out / storming off and slamming the door. None of these are appropriate parenting behaviours or indeed useful.
My question to mums when we talk about their behaviour is “Would you accept this type of behaviour from your child when he or she is angry? Or if it was directed at you from someone else in your life?”
If the answer to that question is no then how can you accept that behaviour from yourself, directed to the ones you love around you?
What’s The Problem With Anger?
Excessive parental anger and aggressive behaviours are called parental bullying, emotional and verbal abuse and it is an unfortunately common problem that happens hidden behind closed doors.
If you yell at your kids then there is the potential to cause emotional or psychological distress or damage to your child. Child behavioural and psychological research has demonstrated that children who are yelled at or subjected to emotional mistreatment by an excessively angry parent have negative consequences.
They have lower self-confidence and can grow up to believe themselves to be unworthy. Children exposed to aggressive parenting behaviour and verbal abuse at are very young age are more likely to display aggressive behaviours in social situations. This is simply because they have not had the parents around to model appropriate emotional behavioural management. Children exposed to loud noises can become timid. Older children can develop learning difficulties, have problems concentrating at school and suffer poorer grades at school.
When Is Anger Excessive?
No parent is perfect and a single incident of anger is unlikely to cause major long-term damage to your child. However, if it is a pattern of behaviour for you when you’re always angry and frustrated at your child then your behaviour has the real potential to cause a problem.
How To Manage Anger
The first step in anger management is awareness. Understanding why you get angry, what your triggers are and what situations are more likely than others to push your buttons is crucial. Not only can you take steps to avoid them, but also put a strategic plan in to address the cause that is causing you to be angry.
A process of self-reflection, journalling is excellent for this. It goes deeper than the de-brief with our girlfriends or the rant on Facebook and actually is a process of resolution, not just a whinge or complaint.
The second is managing your thinking patterns.
When you’re faced with a situation that has the potential to make you angry if you a running a pattern of negative self-talk such as “this is horrible” “I can’t manage” or “I can’t cope”then it’s important to replace these thoughts with positive ones.
“I’ll be able to handle this” “I can do this” “It’s only temporary” are good examples of ways to switch your negative thought patterns. This positive self-talk goes a long way to diffusing anger, frustration and simple irritation.
Relaxation strategies are crucial for any mum but are especially useful for those mums with anger/frustration problems. Slow deep breaths reduce the heart rate and breathing rate and slow the release of adrenaline and cortisol. This reduces stress associated with anger and helps you get a handle on your behaviour and act consciously instead of reacting.
Lastly, if you have a problem with anger, or you find yourself always frustrated and cranky then it’s important to seek help.
I work with mums through my online and in person coaching packages to help them gain control of their emotional reaction when faced with challenging or frustrating behaviour from their child.
If you’ve got a problem with anger or frustration and you’d like to have a chat with me directly about what’s going on for you then book in for an introductory coaching session here.
Don’t let another day go by where you’re yelling at your children. Take steps to being the awesome mum that I know you can be!
Have a beautifully calm day