May 18, 2015

8 Ways to Handle Frustration and Anger as a Parent

"Annoyed Woman" by Petr Kratochvil
My kids demand things on a daily basis. Sometimes, they'll harp on the same thing for hours or go cry. My frustration rises and I feel anger. Oh, we've all had these times when children drive us crazy. We may yell, threaten, or do any number of things. Our thoughts may turn to revenge or we choose to ignore our children. What can we do during these moments?

Remember We Are Children of God


We are all spirit children of Heavenly Father no matter what age we may be. That means we are spiritual brothers and sisters with our children. Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come to me." Try to view them as through God's eyes. We may need to pray for this reminder. I repeat, they are not little devils!

Self-care


We need to take care of ourselves spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. So remember to pray regularly, read scriptures, or do whatever calms your spirit. We can feel the peace of the Spirit despite the chaos around us. Pray for help, knowing you need help beyond your own. God's grace will fill the gap when we keep trying (see 2 Nephi 25:23).

Your physical body needs good food, enough rest and exercise to function properly. For our mental and emotional health, we need to take breaks from our children when we have the opportunity. We need time to recharge.

The Average Child


When I shared a moment of temper about my child at a Recovery International meeting, another group member mentioned that my child was being "average" for his age. Children usually act their age, whether it be the terrible twos or troublesome teens. Each age has its challenges and rewards. I remind myself that my toddler will grow out of the climbing phase and preteen will stop saying "worst family ever!" when he turns 20.

Humor Is Our Best Friend


Some annoying things children do can be funny too. You might as well laugh with your child or laugh at yourself. Humor reduces our temper and helps us cope. My kids may not laugh with me, but I still laugh for my own mental health. One time, my husband and I walked into a room with walls covered in fecal matter. The then one-year-old had taken off his diaper. After freaking out, my husband said we had a scratch-and-sniff wall.

Avoid Temperamental Language


When we choose to call our children little devils, brats, or any other derogatory term, the term automatically triggers temper or stress. We can avoid these terms in our thoughts and when we speak about or with our children. I remind myself that my children are angels in devils' clothing.

Let It Go and Simply Survive the Day


Some things don't matter in the long run. I feel upset when my boys won't clean their room and whine about getting on the computer. Some days I am really tired or stressed when I try to enforce this. My temper rises and I yell. I feel guilty over an action or thought, but it can't define me. Over time, I realize it's better to let them play on the computer and have a messy room instead of a mom ready to bite their heads off. I only have to function until I can take a nap or Dad comes home.

Call in the Cavalry!


Sometimes we are at the end of our rope. It's time to call for help. Keep a list of people who may help you in a pinch. They are like gold. By the way, some cities have crisis daycares for emergencies. 

Maybe you just need to talk the situation through with someone, even if you can't leave your children. I call my mom to help me cope through a tough spot. It's okay to go to a local group therapy like Recovery International or see a therapist. If parenting has you on edge or depressed constantly, see if you need medical help.

You Made It Through Another Day


I congratulate myself for making it to the end of the day with my hair still on my head. I only feel like this once or twice a week. Endorsing yourself for small successes will lead to bigger successes. Life is simply taking one step at a time.

Good luck to all you parents out there! May you have a solid few hours of sleep.


So what do you do to handle frustration as a parent?