The other day I had a bigger blogger share my Pick Up Your Toys post on their Facebook page. I was pretty excited about it, until I started seeing comments about how “disheartening” it was that I got angry at my (then) two and a half year old.
The comments went on about how they couldn’t believe that I’d ever get angry at my child.
Um…are these people parents?
Because seriously, what parent doesn’t get aggravated, upset, and frustrated at their kids every once in a while?
My understanding, after working with parents for years, is that we all get angry from time to time. So, I really started questioning myself after reading all those comments. Don’t all parents get angry at their kids? Maybe I’m just really wrong here.
So, I did a little experiment myself and asked about it on my Facebook page.
Yep, out of all those comments, not one person said that they never get angry.
Hum interesting. So why in the world was I getting so many negative comments about being angry?
As I was scrolling through all those comments, I read this.
I think “angry” is a loaded word that our society has deemed as negative and something we should avoid. I’m guessing these parents have felt anger toward their kids but are scared of the word “angry” so they would use different words, like “upset” “frustrated” “lost my cool” or “impatient”. Otherwise, those parents, simply put, are aliens.
It’s healthy for us and our children to identify our feeling appropriately and be able to express them in healthy ways. It’s okay, good, and healthy to say “I feel angry!”
Oh yes! That’s it!
Anger is an emotion. It’s a perfectly normal…and healthy…emotion to have. But it is a “negative” emotion that people try to hide.
We are told from very early ages that we shouldn’t be angry, that anger is a bad thing. So as adults, we aren’t comfortable being or admitting to others that we get angry.
But it is normal!
It’s part of us, it’s part of being human.
It’s normal to be angry when your child won’t do what you ask him to do.
It’s normal to be angry when your child yells at you.
It’s normal to be angry when your child breaks a house rule.
It’s normal to be angry when your child ruins something of yours.
It’s NORMAL to be angry at your kids!
There are 4 basic emotions that all other emotions come from; anger, sadness, happiness, and fear.
Anger is the root feeling for all those other other things we like to call it. Frustration is anger. Upset is anger. Impatient is anger. It’s all anger.
So, let’s just name it what it is. ANGER. It’s just an emotion.
Sure it’s not a comfortable happy emotion, but it’s still a human emotion.
Let’s stop trying to cover it up and call it something different than what it is. It’s anger, and it’s okay.
It’s what you do with the anger that matters.
More posts about this
Just Stop Yelling
Distracted Mom = Angry Mom
Bad Mood Mom
Deborah @ mommycrusader
You are spot on in your analysis. We’ve made everything so “politically correct” that we can’t even name our feelings anymore. Like the comment you quoted in your post said anger is a normal emotion which must be managed, just like all other emotions. Thank you for this honest post.
Thanks Deborah! I’d love to normalize this a bit more and really start talking about anger. Apparently it’s something that needs to be discussed a bit more.
It’s funny too because like you said, the words that other people would ” prefer ” mean exactly the same thing and they all come from the same source, which is anger. When I’m impatient, I’m usually angry. When I’m frustrated, that’s anger. Why are some words somehow more appropriate than other words that mean the exact same thing?
It’s not wrong or unhealthy to be angry at your kids.
I get angry with my 2 1/2 year old son. When he refuses bed time and decides to scream bloody murder, that makes me angry. When my son throws food on the floor when he KNOWS better, that makes me angry. How am I supposed to feel? Happy and proud that my child is disobeying me? No.
Acknowledging that our children can make us angry isn’t wrong. It’s healthy. That doesn’t mean we don’t love our children either.
Parenthood is a range of so many different emotions, hell, as parents, we experience ALL the emotions. I mean, all humans experience all emotions and just because we become parents, doesn’t mean that our ability to fee certain emotions is turned off. I’ll say it like it is when my child angers me and I’ll state ” I feel angry with you because… ”
That’s a step in teaching our children to express themselves in a healthy manner, rather than hiding and tip toeing around them.
Right on sister!–totally agree with everything you wrote.
As always you manage to really get down to the nitty gritty of things… let’s own our anger and learn ways to deal with it, and lets help our kids do the same!
Thanks Kate! Yes, let’s talk about anger, and show our kids that’s it okay.
Thanks for your post! I have that emotion, anger, and yes I get angry at my kids! Sometimes I’m justified and sometimes I’m not! I’m human, I mess up in my anger a lot! I would love to read more about parental anger, and find out ways to stop my anger when it’s not justified! I have triggers and I need to learn how to spot them and find a better way to handle that God given emotion!
Thank you so much for sharing! It’s great to hear that others get angry…it helps to normalize it a bit. I’ll be starting a series about this, so there will be more to come!
Thank you for this. I would love to see a post about what to do with that anger that is healthy as opposed to hurtful. I think that would really help- to know what you can do to diffuse that anger in the moment instead of yelling, etc. and taking it out on the kids. Are you up for writing that post?
Yes! I’m going to start a whole series about anger in parenthood with at least one post about diffusing anger. Make sure you subscribe to my email (you’ll find how in my right sidebar) so you don’t miss it. Also, if you subscribe, you’ll receive my Stop Yelling Toolbox which has lots of calming strategies we can use when we do get angry.
Amanda! If I would have known that fb comment would end up in a full-blown post I would have edited it. 🙂 I grew up as an angry child, being shut away in my room any time I yelled or was out of control with anger. I never felt like it was okay to feel anger, even though there was a lot of anger in my home. And it became scary because I would burst out at the slightest irritation. Acting out in anger is something that is still a part of my life, but I am learning and attempting to understand it. As I understand it and recognize the feeling of anger inside of me I am better able to control my actions and that is very empowering. I offer myself a lot of grace and try to be tender with myself and my own feelings. I consider my journey of understanding my own anger as part of teaching my children to understand and accept their own feelings as a whole human experience. It is a difficult journey and hopefully I am giving them the tools they need to have a healthier life.
I love all that you do Amanda! *hugs*
Thanks for your comment! I feel like it was an answer to my prayer for my boy. Sometimes he acts out in anger and I get mad at him for doing it. (Oxymoron, right?) After your post, I realize that I should name his feelings, tell him it’s okay, and help him to learn what to do with it. Thanks a million!
Ha! Guess I should have given you a heads up, but your words really spoke to me.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with anger. So many parents don’t allow their kids to show anger because a lot of times kids are disrespectful while they are angry, plus it’s not comfortable for our kids to be angry, so we try to stop it. It’s a hard emotion to manage, especially with parenting. I think the most important way we can teach our children about anger, is to be a good role model. That’s super hard though, thank you so much for sharing how you handle it. Very insightful!
Thank you for this article. I enjoy your website a lot. I never really used to experience anger until I became a parent myself. It gets very, very frustrating at times, especially being a single parent to a special needs child. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who gets this way. I usually get over it, but sometimes when my son has done something to make me angry, I find the best way to deal with it is to physically separate us. The other day, he had drawn all over the stainless steel fridge with permanent marker, and I sent him to the other side of the house so I could clean it without getting really angry. I still was, but it dissipated some of it.
You say anger is the root feeling of all other feelings (except sadness, hapiness or fear). I’ve learned anger is The second feeling when we don’t feel free /haven’t learned to express our actual feelings. When our kids doesn’t listen to us we might feel unimportant, like our meanings doesn’t count and so on. When we doesn’t express the true feelings, it’s the anger that comes out instead. Anger is often covering other feelings. When we learn to recognise the excact feeling and express this, we don’t feel The need to be angry. This is a difficult process and it demands a lot of practice. But it is possible.
I can’t say I never get angry at my kids, but I’m learning about my self every day, and the moments of anger in time will be fewer. Thanks for your blog.
Yes, anger can be a secondary emotion for sure. Your example of feeling unimportant (root of sad) can easily move over into anger. Feelings can be complex and sometimes we feel more than one at the same time. What I’m saying in the post is that we have lots of words for emotions, but they all come from the 4 basic emotions. Joyful = happy, depressed = sad, frustrated = angry, frightened = scared. Each word has a different definition and means different things, like depression is an extreme form of sadness, but it is a type of sadness…if that makes sense.
I am very good at getting angry with my kids – they have a knack of pushing just the right buttons at just the wrong time 😉
I am totally for sharing and allowing all emotions, but I agree that learning how to manage them is so important – I’m trying to learn and am trying loads of things to help my kids too!
I have never met a parent yet who doesn’t get angry with their kids!
And it is very helpful (I feel) for parents to be able to label all these feelings to our children, when they occur. My 4 year old will ask what emotion I’m feeling…”Are you mad?” vs. “Are you frustrated?” She’s trying to figure out what all these words mean and when to use them. So yes, we must be able to label what we are feeling and demonstrate healthy ways of dealing with the feeling.
This is wonderful! And so true. So much research about resilient, empathetic and happy children refers to the importance of naming our feelings. I read feelings books with my 3 year old and one is about anger. She gets angry (quite a bit with me and her little brother) and I always tell her it’s ok to feel angry, it’s not ok to hurt others with your anger. This means physically or emotionally. She gets it and it makes her feel in control which is oh so important when you’re 3!
Rachel @ A Mother Far from Home
Ha ha ha ha ha. Let me tell you this is SPOT ON. I wrote a post about this exact same thing when my pastor’s wife was complaining that her oldest daughter (9) wasn’t taking the changes in the home well (younger brother has a brain tumor) and was acting defiant, naughty, and kept threatening to run away. The mother felt guilty that she was getting mad at her daughter.
I looked at her and said, “Your son has a brain tumor. Your daughter needs to get a grip.” It was like scales fell off and she actually teared up. Mamas need permission to be human!!!!!!!
Rachel @ A Mother Far from Home
An aside, of course there will be changes and insecurity from this time, I don’t discount the emotions of other siblings, simply that a mom shouldn’t feel guilty getting mad when a child becomes extremely disobedient and defiant!
I love your first post! And I’m really glad you wrote this one. When I saw the comments following your post, like you I felt sad and disappointed. People missed the point entirely!! So happy to see you find an appropriate response to it. Like you I don’t see what’s wrong with being angry. It’s how we deal with it that matters.
Thank you for yet again covering a hard topic and reminding us all that these moments in our lives of parenthood are not only normal, but human and okay. I do get angry at and frustrated with my kids sometimes, just as they get angry at me. I also try to express that emotion to my sons (4 years & 21 months) so they can recognize that is how I’m feeling and recognize that is how they feel too. My older son has definitely had a year where he has been exploring the emotion of anger. One of the things we tell him is that it is okay to be angry, but it’s how you show that anger that matters. For example you can’t hit, hurt, or throw when you’re angry. By showing we’re angry and expressing it without those things, we’re hoping we’re modeling appropriate ways to be angry. Sometimes, like all parents I worry I’m not making a good decision, but your post really helped remind me of several things. Thank you.
I stumbled across your website and I really think you are a genius. Love your articles!!!!
You could not be more accurate! People act as if it is abominable to get (sh) ‘angry’ at your child. As if it is somehow child abuse. We are already expected as mothers to do SO much, I think this unrealistic idea is absurd. I appreciate your article and that I’m not the only to get…. yes. ANGRY!
You are very right. It’s a complicated matter. My own mother had a personality disorder that meant she had little ability to regulate her emotions, and also that her anger could last for days, weeks or months. There are just lines that adults have to draw. Parents aren’t perfect, ever, and everyone gets angry. Rational people know when it’s excessive and hopefully those that can’t recognize excessive emotion for themselves get help.
Thank you I needed that!
I feel angry all the time, and it’s not a good feeling. It drains me physically and emotionally. I wish I could control or stop being angry.