We all get angry with our toddlers sometimes and I am definitely no exception. Throw in a stubborn three year old who won’t stop teasing his little sister by taking every toy she picks up to play with away from her to an already hectic morning when you’re going to be late for work, you’re surrounded by chaos and you can’t find your left shoe. Not to mention having been woken up by your toddler several times in the night with teething issues and you’re running on caffeine empty on top of everything else. Here you have a situation which is likely to get ugly if don’t take stock of your emotions and temper.
But it is so hard. Our kids seem to have the ability to trigger us more than anyone else can. As parents we get taken on an emotional journey as we love and bond with our children. Moments of pure bliss as well as not so blissful moments. As a mum I have felt a long list of emotions – frustration, irritation, exhaustion, fear, anxiety stress, and sometimes anger.
Dealing with these emotions is probably one of the hardest things I have had to deal with in my journey through motherhood and anger has been the most challenging. A friend of mine has really changed the way I see my anger with my toddlers. One day when I was telling her how furious I had been with my toddler she said to me imagine that your husband is losing his temper and screaming and shouting at you. Now imagine him three times as big as you towering over you. Now add to that the fact that you depend on him for your safety, food, shelter, protection. Imagine he is your main source of love and meaning in the world. And then imagine you have nowhere else to turn to. Finally multiple what you’re feeling now 1000 fold and you have some idea about what’s happening for your toddlers when you get angry at them.
Ouch. After hearing this I put into action a plan for the times when I felt my anger and temper rising. But before this I took a moment to be kind to myself and realise all those times I have held it together, managed the pressure and been very calm and measured. Then I got moving with my plan for managing my temper with my toddlers….
My plan for managing my temper with my toddlers
- when I start to feel myself getting angry
I stop, take deep breathes, shake the tension out of my hands and remind myself that no one is in danger and nothing bad is happening here.
- step away from the situation
Physically moving away from my toddler helps me to take time to collect myself, my temper and deal with the situation, telling him I will come back in a few minutes so we can talk about what has just happened is a tactic I use a lot.
- wait before disciplining
When I’m calm and ready I sit close to my toddler and talk about what has just happened, why I don’t want him to act that way anymore and how it makes me feel. I try never to make an empty threat and always try to follow through on what has been agreed.
- choosing your battles
Focusing on what matters to you in your toddler, such as the way he treats other people rather than leaving all his toy cars through the hallway seems more important to battle over.
If you want to read more about anger, your temper and ways to help you manage it read what the Australian Psychological Society has to say.
This post was brought to you and your baby with love from Julia and the Itchy Baby Co. team X