Do you ever feel stuck in a cycle of anger and resentment towards your child? Sometimes I swear it’s like a cloud descends on me and all I want to do is hide in a closet.
Sometimes I find I just need to sit with these feelings a while to let them shift. If that’s where you are, be gentle on yourself, some days we simply don’t have the energy to push past that moment and the best we can do is try not to have a Mama or Papa Tantrum.
But other days I know it’s time to work to get out of that resentful place, because otherwise everything my kids do – even totally normal healthy kid things, makes me more grumpy and I start to feel mean.
Resentment means it’s time for self care.
“Do you have any tips for letting go of anger towards your child? When you notice yourself feeling resentful and mean, how do you get out of that emotional place?”
10 Moms’ Tips for Letting go of Anger
- Magnificent Me (blog) Tell someone who won’t judge you for it. Just getting it out helps.
- Emma – I had trauma in my childhood so stressful situations trigger my fight/flight response, very primitive part of the brain that just reacts. My counselor says cuing into my senses tracks my brain back to the cognitive thinking brain pathway so that I can use all the wonderful techniques I have been learning but can’t access in “protect” mode. So you stop, identify 3 things you can see, identify 3 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear… Then 2 things you can see, feel, hear… Then 1 thing you can see, feel, hear… Then repeat if necessary which I have never had to. Good luck!
- Cassie – My son is a very touchy feely kind of kid so it works for him. Sometimes, if it isn’t too serious or to diffuse the situation before it escalates, I will just look at him with a silly expression and say, “You’re killing me, kid.” That usually makes him laugh and gives him a minute to think about what he’s doing and where I’m coming from. It helps that I play dead if he keeps it up. Like Emma, I grew up with some pretty severe trauma. Taking control over my own response helps me to regain my composure and to remember that my experiences will not be my child’s.
- Joyce – …when I feel like I’m going to lose it and he won’t budge (usually in crying, whining hysterics) I grab him, hold him down and tickle him. Usually that gets us both in a better place. Cos’ we both get pretty irrational.
- Chantelle – I try to remember what I would look like to them, a big scary angry person who isn’t show ANY love at all and that pretty much nips it in the bud. I don’t wants my kids to have that visual. I just want them to know the faces of love and tenderness. If I can’t show those to them, it’s time for a break. OR another thing I might do is to something crazy to get their attention. Usually something physical, like flapping my arms or jumping up and down, something like that. It’s gets their attention and then we laugh at my craziness. Yes, unusual but it works, changes direction and changes tone.
- Aleacia – It helps me to remember how old my kids are. 4 and 2 is such a short time on this earth, it makes me realize that sometimes I just expect too much from them.
Christy– besides taking deep breaths, I talk quietly and calmly. I try to reason out what I see – “I see you decided to hit your friend. I know if someone hit me I would be sad and hurt. What do you think your friend is feeling? . . . Why did you hurt her? . . . What could you do instead?”
- Cassie – I don’t usually find myself becoming mean or spiteful, but when I find myself at the edge of my patience and I know I am either going to lose it and cry or raise my voice I will ask my now 8 year old son to come sit in my lap and I will give him a big deep hug and tell him some of the things I love about him. Now that he’s older sometimes he will share things he loves with me. After we’ve both calmed down I will usually tell him that I was feeling frustrated for whatever reason and ask him to help me fix it.
- Sarah Y. – I try to remember that photo of the crying toddler with the caption, “My toddler isn’t giving me a hard time. He is HAVING a hard time.” That helps. I’ve also come to realize that when he is being a total wart, it’s usually because a) he’s had no undivided attention or b) he’s hungry or tired. That usually keeps me from leaving him on the curb or hunting for the nearest band of gypsies.
- Sarah H. – I know it will get harder as he gets older, but when I catch myself losing it with my toddler, I know I need some time off. I’m a 24/7 mom – SAHM with a hyper-attached, poor sleeper. Sometimes I just have to step away – leave him with Daddy or grandparents or trusted friends – and have a few hours away with people or activities that energize me.
What do you do when you notice you’re just feeling mean? Does that ever happen to you? Any tricks or ideas?
For more help:
- Fight your parenting villains with us in the Bounceback Parenting League.
- Resources for Dealing With Anger
- How to Let Go of Mom Guilt
- 6 Health Checks to Do if You’re Feeling Grumpy All the Time