Do you feel like angry outbursts are just an unavoidable part of parenting? My two older girls were strong-willed and only 14 months apart. I often felt inadequate. I’d lose my cool with them and then feel guilty. Once I faced the things that were really going on inside myself—and the causes of anger—I was able to parent more peacefully.
We all lose our cool at times, but regular angry outbursts may reveal the need to address something deeper. As a single mom, this is huge. We need to strive to give our kids as much stability as possible. Here are 5 causes of anger you might not realize are hiding beneath the surface.
We all lose our cool at times, but regular angry outbursts may reveal the need to address something deeper.
Your expectations are too high for yourself or your child.
There are no perfect kids or perfect parents. Having unrealistic ideals for life sets us up for failure. All kids act out in public, avoid their chores, mess up in school, and embarrass their parents at some point. Don’t let yourself feel like a failure when it happens. Tell your inner critic that these are great kids who are making mistakes like normal kids do and that you are a great mom. Your singleness doesn’t equal failure or create a need for you to prove yourself. Take a deep breath. Then deal with the situation at hand.
Your child exhibits behaviors you dislike in yourself.
My middle daughter was a lot like me as a kid. She always pushed limits and was rarely on time. I found myself being overly angry at her for this behavior. Then I realized that I was really angry at myself for not being able to overcome my own punctuality problem. Once I saw that I was projecting my own self-judgment onto her, I found I had more grace and understanding for her.
You haven’t been taking care of your own needs.
As a single mom, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to go around. When you need a moment to calm down, there isn’t a second parent there to handle the kids. Prioritizing your own needs can seem selfish and unnecessary, but when you invest in those needs, you will find yourself with the ability to show more patience to your children.
You believe anger is the only way to get people to listen.
Anger can feel like a good option when we feel powerless. Sometimes, it feels like no one will take us seriously unless we yell. Using anger to motivate desired behaviors in others causes disconnection in the relationship. It’s manipulative in nature. A great resource for how to be a powerful parent is the book Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk. And iMOM has several behavior tools like the Consequence Calculator.
You fear you are not good enough.
An underlying sense of inadequacy leads to feeling overwhelmed. A mom who believes she is not good enough will constantly feel in over her head. This translates to being angry at the people around her who are making demands. More demands add to feeling overwhelmed, which reinforces the sense of inadequacy. Make a list of things you are proud of in yourself and things others compliment you on. Rehearse these lines over and over until you believe them.
What are some hidden causes of anger that you have discovered in your own life?