Have you ever gone to bed feeling guilty about how you may have acted towards your children that day? I sometimes stay up late researching online how to change my daughters anger.
I hate to admit it but I do feel that I sometimes don’t know if I am being a great parent. I question myself and I know I shouldn’t but I cant help but to think, “Is there a more effective way to handle my child when she gets angry?” There has to be, right?
After reading so many different mothers blogs I now know I am not the only one feeling this way. Which gives me a HUGE sense of relief. As a stay at home mother, it is very easy to forget that there are billions of people outside… some probably going through the same issues as you are.
That is why I wanted to write about my toddlers anger episode and express my feelings of guilt and miss understanding of how to handle my child… the best way I can.
Tonight I asked my 3 year old to come and brush her teeth before bed. She of course ignored me and kept playing. So I went into the room and told her to get up and go brush her teeth. She got very angry, clenched her fists with her arms at her side, head down and teeth grinding… Wow… I instantly got angry myself and spanked her bum. I know… I know… That is why I am writing this now, to vow to myself that I am going to change my ways of punishment. I want to so badly.
As she went to the bathroom crying, I felt soooo guilty. Of course. I don’t spank her every day or every other day, or even every week. It happens every so often. I just get so exhausted when she doesn’t listen to me. It drives me crazy and sends my mind into overload and I can feel my anxiety building up inside.
I have tried to stop and count to myself… I have tried to pull myself from the situation and take some deep breaths… I have tried to walk away and have my hubby deal with the situation… But none of these have worked. What do I do now?
As I did some research online when I was laying down nursing my baby, I found some interesting alternatives to punishment.
First, I need to understand WHY is she acting this way? So mean and angry.
Their prefrontal cortex is not fully developed yet. This is the part of the brain that develops last. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that regulates emotion and controls social behavior. This can definitely explain why my daughters emotions are indescribable right now. And it is not until age 4 that this area of the brain will start to mature.
Another aspect is that children at this age don’t think logically, but magically. This explains why I now know when I tell my children, “don’t do that, don’t you understand that doing that will hurt you,” or “don’t you know that you can hurt someone?” As we mature we know what the consequences are but as a child, things like that don’t cross our minds. All we know is fun and play.
Children also like to test their boundaries and find their limits. This is where I get confused and I am sure I am confusing my little one too. I am the first to admit that I am not consistent with setting limits… But I am going to start.
What to do now that you KNOW why your child is getting angry?
Instead of yelling or spanking, talk to your child. This is very hard to do when you, as a parent, are getting frustrated at your child for not listening. My mother actually tells me, every time I talk to her about my frustrations, to just talk to my children. She told me, “you hated it when I would talk to you when you were mad or angry.” She said I would eventually end up talking about my emotions and how I was feeling because I just wanted my mom to stop talking. I would talk so she would stop. Funny how situations work out.
But in all truth, your child needs to know that you care about how they feel and it is ok for them to feel how they do, but the way they are acting out their emotions may not be ok. When I read how important this is for your child, I agreed completely. Even as adults, in any relationship… Talking and communication is key. So why not do this with your child as they are learning how to communicate and talk with you. This will most definitely help them as they grow older.
Make sure to explain to them to talk. Tell them to say they are mad, not to grunt or clinch their fists. Let them know that behavior is not ok. Also, reward their good behavior. Decide on some good behaviors, like brushing their teeth, cleaning up their toys, or making their bed, and tell them if they do these they will be rewarded with some money, movie time, tablet time, or even thirty more minutes to stay up before bedtime. Be consistent. Set a time limit.
None the less, take a look in the mirror. Make sure that you are not acting the way they are, but in your own way. Remember children are sponges and as a parent, you are their role model. So make sure you are not throwing your own temper-tantrum as well. Stay calm and collected. Don’t let your frustration show. Don’t throw objects. Don’t yell.
I know I am going to be working a lot on this myself and with my child. I want to make sure to be a great parent and raise my child the best I can. So in this journey I will be doing some self changes.
There are no right and wrong way to being a good parent, but there is always learning. Learning from your child and your child learning from you as well as you learning from yourself. Be strong and know that you are not alone, so take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be ok.
Do you have any advice for this topic? Have you found ways that have helped you and your child deal with emotional rollercoasters? I would love to hear from your experience.