Want to stop being the angry mom? Find out which triggers cause you to yell at your kids so you can get back to enjoying parenting!
Think back to before you had kids.
Did you ever find yourself thinking “I’m not going to be one of those angry moms that yell at their kids all the time.”
I know I certainly did!
Fast forward a few years and a few kids, and there I was. Yelling. Not just once or twice, but all the time.
Sometimes I hate the fact that I find myself doing so many of the things I said I’d never do. But in reality, I’ve come to realize, like many parents before me, that the only time we’re ever that “perfect parent” is, well, before we ever have kids!
Because, let’s face it: motherhood is hard. So, so hard.
I remember one particular episode a few years back when I completely lost it. My inner she-woman showed her face – and it wasn’t pretty. And more than the humiliation of how I’d just acted, the thing that bothered me the most was the look on my kids’ faces.
It was a mix of fear and “there she goes again”.
That’s when I realized things had gotten out of control. I mean, had my kids come to expect that I actually was one of those angry moms who yelled at their kids all the time?
Something had to change.
EVEN GOOD MOMS YELL AT THEIR KIDS
“I messed up. I must be a bad mom.” This is one of the many misconceptions we have as mothers.
But let me be clear – Mistakes don’t make you a bad mom.
How I wish that someone would have told me that years ago.
I can’t even begin to describe the amount of guilt I’d carry with me each day. It was like each mistake was a tally in the “bad mom” column making me feel as if I’d never live up to what my children deserved.
And all that negativity lowered my tolerance levels which led to…more yelling!
It was a vicious cycle.
But because I love my kids and wanted to enjoy being their mom, I’ve done a lot of work. Through tons of study, prayer and trial and error, I’ve begun to heal from the unrealistic expectations I had of myself. And I’m finally to a place where I’m comfortable with learning about some of my behavior patterns and being intentional about changing them.
One thing that has helped immensely with my anger is learning the triggers that cause it.
Of course, these triggers are only part of the puzzle, as I’m sure they are for you too. But knowing what things we can control will help us on the journey to becoming calmer and happier moms.
And that’s why I want to share them with you.
IDENTIFYING THE TRIGGERS THAT MAKE US ANGRY
Anger is a natural emotion. And learning about healthy ways to deal with it is a worthy pursuit. But that’s a topic for another post.
The purpose of this post is to help identify the common triggers that lead to our getting angry in the first place – the real reasons moms often want to yell.
Because knowing those triggers helps us avoid them, and it gives us power to control our environment. (Or at least it adds validity and understanding to our anger in the moment, right?)
Here are 8 common triggers that might cause you to yell at your kids. Ask yourself:
1. “Am I taking this personally?”
Bad behavior. Ooh, it can make us so angry. But what are you more mad about: the fact that they acted out or the fact that they didn’t obey you?
As parents, we like control. We want our kids to just be good and know we’re the boss. But unfortunately, reality doesn’t work that way.
2. “Do I know the whole situation?”
Kids misbehave, make messes, and test boundaries. That’s just the way they are. It’s how they learn their environment, their boundaries, and where they stand with you.
But sometimes, kids are just living in their little worlds, unaware that what they’re doing might make you mad.
The other day, I walked into my bedroom to see all of my clothes out of my closet, strewn around. My bedding was on the floor and my jewelry was everywhere.
Luckily, I caught myself this time. Before losing my temper, I asked my daughter what was going on. She was so excited to tell me that she and her brother were doing a fashion show, “organizing” my closet for me, and setting up a fancy hotel room for my husband and I…on the floor.
What was innocent play and thoughtful service to her was a complete mess to me. But boy, am I glad this was one of the times I didn’t react first and think later. She was so happy to share what she was doing with me.
So the next time you walk into a situation that makes you cringe, try to see things from their perspective and ask yourself, “Do I really know the whole story?”
3. “Are my expectations realistic?”
Have you ever noticed that parents often change their approach from their first child to their last? That’s because they learn that the key to their sanity partly lies in loosening the reins a little.
They learn that little tears, less-than-perfect homes, and planning extra time to get out the door are just a part of life with kids. And they learn to roll with it.
Here are a few things I’ve learned:
- Everything always takes longer than I think it will.
- Cleaning up with kids in the house is like sweeping during a tornado.
- Sometimes kids hate every type of food I put in front of them.
- I have to wait until my kids are in bed to have a real conversation with my husband (and even then there are still occasional interruptions!).
Of course, there are many more. I’m learning to embrace the chaos every day – in all its wonderful, frustrating, hilarious, and exhausting glory.
So the next time you feel the anger bubbling, remember that kids will be kids and ask yourself, “Is this really worth getting mad about?”
4. “Has something gotten out of control?”
There’s a lot to juggle as a parent. And sometimes you’ll feel like you totally rock at this mom-thing, and other times you’ll feel like you’re herding cats.
But if you find yourself constantly getting angry, it’s time to step back and find what’s out of balance.
It’s different for everyone, but for me, I’ve noticed that when I let my house get too messy or I’ve slipped out of a good routine for myself or my kids I just feel off. I don’t feel settled or relaxed and I have to reevaluate so I can get back on track.
I’ve also noticed a huge difference in my tolerance levels when I’ve gotten back into a habit of looking at my phone too much.
So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself, “What is out of balance in my life right now?”
5. “Am I running on empty?”
Moms are known for their uncanny ability to overwork themselves.
We’re so busy taking care of everyone else, that we can forget to take care of ourselves. But sleep, nutrition, exercise and doing things that fulfill and recharge us – those things matter!
Without them, you’ll eventually be running on fumes and burn out. And when our batteries are low, we yell. We get angry. We don’t have the energy to exercise self-control and be the parent.
So the next time you find yourself constantly wanting to yell at your kids, ask yourself, “How’s my health?” (Mental and physical).
6. “Am I setting my kids up for failure?”
Believe it or not, we sometimes put our kids in a lose-lose situation. We inadvertantly set them up to get in trouble.
I strongly believe that our kids are capable of rising to our healthy expectations. But sometimes, we accidently expect too much or hold our kids accountable before they’re ready. Here are a few things to consider:
- Do they know exactly what’s expected?
- Do they know how to do it?
- Have they had ample time to do it?
- Are they still learning how to do it?
- Does this consequence make sense? (Does the punishment fit the “crime”?)
- Do they know I will follow through?
- Is the behavior a result of their need to connect with us that day?
So the next time you notice bad behavior or the lack of obedience, ask yourself, “What can I do to help them next time?”
7. “Do I just need a second to get things done?”
Kids are master interrupters. Did the phone just ring? Did you open your mouth to try and say something to your spouse? Did you try and sneak away to go to the bathroom? Did you just sit down to write an email?
It’s like kids have an inner-sense that you’re momentarily unavailable and they just can’t handle it. They could be in a separate room playing happily until you need to do something. Then they come rushing in like you said they could have a bowl of ice cream.
There are times we just need to get things done. And we need our kids to not need us for a second.
So plan for it.
Teach them how to play independently and then put them in playtime for a bit (this works for older kids too!). Or save the things that need your full attention for naptime. And for the kids that don’t nap, work alone/quiet time into your daily routine.
So the next time you want to yell at your kids for interrupting you, ask yourself, “Where in my day can I schedule some time to get things done?”
8. “Is it just that time of day?”
There are certain times of the day where we’re more cranky.
For many families, it’s late afternoon/early evening just before dinner when everyone’s getting tired and hungry. I have friends that refer to it as their family “witching hour”, and knowing that has helped them back off during that time.
So if you have a time of day that you feel more on edge, ask yourself “Is this happening routinely?” and plan your activities and expectations accordingly.
I hope learning about these triggers will help you in your journey to yell at your kids less. It’s not easy. But it is possible to get it under control with intentional effort.
You’ve got this!
OTHER HELPFUL POSTS:
- Do This, Not That! 10 Powerful Alternatives To Yelling
- How To Get Things Done (Even When The Kids Are Home)
- 5 Simple Ways To Discipline Without Yelling
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