How to Deal with Anger as a Parent?

Being a parent brings a lot of responsibilities upon you such as managing work and finances, maintaining a healthy social life, and running the household. On top of that, you have to take care of your child, who may at times, not behave the way you want. Such pressures are likely to trigger your anger.

Anger is a normal human emotion, but it needs to be channeled positively. As a parent, you must be in control of your temper and you must make a conscious effort to ensure that your child doesn’t become a victim of your anger outburst, even if he/she is the reason you are upset in the first place.

Anger management for parents is very important because losing the temper on a child can have a negative impact on the mental and physical health of you and your little one. It can also harm the relationship between both of you and create an unpleasant atmosphere at home.

Why do Parents get so Angry at Their Children?

There are several reasons that may trigger your anger towards your child. You may be dealing with outside pressures such as financial constraints, where you feel like you are not able to meet household expenses and so have to work overtime or take loans. You may even be struggling with a relationship, perhaps with your partner, siblings, friends, or your own parents.

Alternatively, you may be suffering from personal concerns such as an illness or a psychological condition such as anxiety or trauma. The frustrations that build up inside your head may result in you losing your temper with your child because you see them as your only outlet.

Parents also feel angry when their children disobey them, misbehave or fail to learn something that they are being taught. For example, you may get exasperated if you are teaching your child how to read the alphabet and he/she is not getting the hang of it no matter how hard you try. As an expression of your rage, you may shout, verbally abuse or hit your child.

Research suggests that one of the reasons why parents lose their temper with their children is due to a phenomenon is known as “ghosts in the nursery”. This means that children, through their behaviors, trigger the childhood fears and frustrations of their parents. As a result of being overwhelmed by these feelings, parents subconsciously reciprocate their child’s behavior through an anger outburst.

Effects of Screaming and Hitting on Your Child

Parents’ anger affects children

Controlling anger and parenting must go hand-in-hand to enable you to nurture a healthy relationship with your child. Losing your temper and screaming at your young ones – whatever the reason may be – is harmful to the mental wellbeing of your child. The effects of your anger outbursts on them can manifest in them in the form of various psychological conditions, even when they grow up.

As a parent, you must learn how to control anger with kids because they rely on you as their main source of shelter, self-confidence and moral and emotional support. If you scream, say hurtful things, or hit your child, you are taking away the sense of reliance they have on you. They become fearful of your rage and close themselves off to you.

You must also make sure that you do not say mean things to your child. Your child depends on you for validation and this helps them in developing confidence. If you verbally abuse your child and make them feel like they are not good enough, you end up damaging their self-esteem. They begin to doubt themselves, a feeling that they might be stuck with forever.

Research suggests that using harsh language against children impacts their brain development and they have lower IQ. It also results in sleeping disorders, social anxiety, and difficulty concentrating, and makes them quiet or rude. Furthermore, verbal abuse can take such a toll on your child that he/she may become physically ill.

If you express rage towards your child and he/she doesn’t seem to be affected by it, you must not take this as a good sign. You must realize that it is now even more important for you to stop getting angry at your child. This is because the apparent indifference of your child may be a defense mechanism that they have developed to deal with your anger and they are in fact getting deeply impacted by it.

In such a case, you must make an effort to channel your anger more positively and try to prevent getting frequently enraged with them. You must also try to get through to your child and make them realize that they must not feel isolated and that you do in fact care about them.

8 Tips to Control Anger While Dealing With Your Children

For your own mental and physical health, as well as for the well-being of your child, you must learn anger management for parents. You should realize that if your anger is a result of factors such as financial, social or personal affairs, then your child is not at fault and you must not take your rage out on them.

Even if you are angry at them for something they have done, then you must keep yourself in check so that you do not hurt your child in anger.

Here are 8 anger management tips for parents to help them control their temper:

  1. Set Your Anger Limitations
  2. React After Calming Yourself Down
  3. Use Positive Self Talk
  4. Take a Five Minute Timeout
  5. Commit Yourself to Stay in Control
  6. Expect Your Child to Push Your Buttons
  7. Weigh the Situation
  8. Opt for Online Anger Management Course

1. Set Your Anger Limitations

set Limits to your anger

Parents often forget to set a limit on their anger, and out of frustration resort to screaming and hitting their children or using harsh words against them. In order to prevent your anger from escalating into something that is intense enough to harm your child, you must set a limit on yourself before you get upset.

For instance, you can tell yourself that in case you get upset, you will not under any circumstances be rude to your child, raise your voice and slap them. You may allow yourself to use a stern voice if they are not only listening but only enough to make them realize their mistake. Being gentle and using incentives to get your child to behave goes a much longer way than trying to discipline them aggressively.

2. React After Calming Yourself Down

Calm yourself down

Oftentimes parents make their children victims of an anger outburst in the heat of the situation. They allow their emotions to consume them and fail to utilize their rationality. As a result, they end up hurting their child through their aggressive words and actions.

In order to prevent your anger from getting out of hand, you must first calm yourself down and allow yourself to think of logical ways to handle the situation.

For instance, if your child isn’t getting the hang of the alphabet, what good will it do to shout at him/her? You will only be wasting your energy while making your child anxious and fearful. You must take a minute, allow your frustration to wear off, then think of solutions. You may for instance decide to give your child a break and use different resources such as online videos.

3. Use Positive Self Talk

Use positive self talk

Self talk plays a big role in helping you maintain control over your anger. You can use positive affirmations such as “This isn’t a big deal”, “There are other ways that I can go about this” or “I must be gentle because I may end up hurting my child”. This way your mind will be able to counter the negativity that is making you upset and aggressive and will enable you to look for alternate ways to channel your frustration.

4. Take a Five Minute Timeout

Take a five-minute timeout

If you are angry and feel like you are likely to lose control over yourself, you must take a five-minute break to calm your nerves and become clear-headed. Sit down, take slow, deep breaths to allow a better flow of oxygen in your brain, and drink a glass of water.

You will notice that once you give yourself some time,  the intensity of your anger starts to fade. Your child will then become automatically safe from aggressive behavior on your end.

5. Commit Yourself to Stay in Control

commit yourself to staying in control

You must commit to controlling your anger and staying strong even if you feel like you are on the verge of an outburst. You must try your best not to react when your child is misbehaving with you, back-talking, or ignoring something you asked them to do.

You must realize that confrontation is not always a good idea if it can escalate into a heated situation, and therefore sometimes disconnecting is the way to go. A simple way to avoid reacting to your child’s displeasing attitude is just to go into another room and calm yourself down.

6. Expect Your Child to Push Your Buttons

expect your child to push your buttons

Understanding the nature of children is an important part of parenting. You must recognize that as a child, your kid has a lot to learn and that this learning doesn’t come naturally. It comes from you. You must therefore not have unrealistic expectations from your child such as behaving maturely.

As a parent, you must prepare yourself for the fact that your child will push your buttons. In other words, he/she will, at some point, behave in a way that irritates you. Instead of being thrown off by their behavior and reacting strongly, you must teach yourself to be patient with them.

7. Weigh the Situation

Weigh the situation

Anger takes away from your energy and also negatively impacts your child. You must therefore make an attempt to understand whether a situation actually deserves your anger or not. Once you are able to weigh every situation and understand the pros and cons of being furious, you will realize that a lot of the time you are overreacting and your child has to bear the consequences of it.

For example, you may realize that getting excessively angry over your child’s messy bedroom has more drawbacks than positive outcomes. This may encourage you to adopt a different technique to get him/her to clean it, rather than shouting.

8. Opt for An Anger Management Course

Opt for online anger management

If you feel like you are unable to control your anger on your own, you must not hesitate to take outside help. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by opting for online anger management courses. These courses vary in duration from 4 hours to 52 hours, and you can choose the one that you think you need depending upon the intensity of your anger issues.

In these courses, teachers provide their expert advice on anger management for parents and give you tips to keep your temper in check. Once you take these classes, you will be better equipped with knowledge of how to positively channel your anger so that your kids do not fall victim to your outbursts.

Key Takeaways

There are many frustrations that parents experience in life and some of them are related to the way their children are behaving. Nevertheless, these frustrations must not be released in the form of anger outbursts towards children, even if they are at fault.

As a parent, it is important to be aware of the negative impact that losing your temper has on your kid. It not only affects the child physically, but also becomes a cause of long-term psychological conditions such as trauma, anxiety, depression, and self-doubt. Moreover, anger plays a major role in disrupting the parent-child relationship.

To prevent this, parents must ask themselves questions such as “How to control my temper with my toddler?” or “How should I prevent myself from getting angry with my child?”. They must look for ways to channel their anger positively, without it harming their young ones.

Some tips related to anger management for parents are setting anger limitations, self talk, calming down, and most importantly, online anger management courses. These courses are designed to equip parents with the proper know-how of controlling their temper so that they can nurture healthy relationships with their kids.

Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC

Dr. Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC specializes in anger management, family conflict resolution, marital and premarital conflict resolution. His extensive knowledge in the field of anger management may enable you to use his tested methods to deal with your anger issues.


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