Do you ever find yourself wondering, “Why am I getting so angry with my child?” It’s often said our children are with us for such a short time. But the truth is, while the days are long and the years are short, raising kids means that they are with you all of the time. At your best…and at your worst. They know your heart, but they also see that not-so-pretty parts of your human nature that always seem to sneak out when we least expect it. Let’s talk about a recent trip I took to the grocery store and see what I learned about myself and why all of us sometimes get so angry at our kids.
Why am I getting so angry with my child?
While wandering up and down the aisles of the grocery store, I was distracted when I came across another Mom and her young son. He had been acting out a little bit, but I wasn’t even phased by it after having 8 kids of my own and 16 grandkids to chase after 🙂 I was very saddened to watch as the mother made mean, threatening faces to her young son while sticking her finger in his face and scolding him. I felt so bad for the child! The mom continued ranting and raving while pointing her finger at him in an intimidating way. I didn’t want to judge this mom. Maybe she was having a particularly rough day with her child. But when I saw this situation unfold, suddenly I saw myself in her shoes and it made me think.
There have been times where I was that angry mom. There are moments where the feelings below the surface would come out and affect those around me in a way that I didn’t intend. For example, have you ever had a day where every little thing seems to go wrong? Nothing big, but just a lot of little things not working the way they are supposed to. Then your child walks into the kitchen and tips over a glass of milk and you suddenly find yourself taking out all of those little disappointments over that glass of spilled milk?
We’ve all been there, and we’ve all been the scowling Mom. Moments like this can’t be avoided completely. Instead, we need to be aware of the pressures of our lives, and how those things can both, directly and indirectly, affect the way we parent our children.
When thinking of the woman in the store, her expression and body language said:
1. I am to be feared.
2. I am very angry.
3. I don’t like you.
The little boy’s body language and expression showed hurt and discouragement. (As if to say, I can’t make Mom happy) At the same time, it looked like he was used to this, and had learned to just shrug it off. It was as though her words and actions had no effect on him. I wondered, “how did my kids see my expression when had a bad day?”
Do you ever wonder how often you have been guilty of “saying” the wrong thing with your facial expression, and body language? I think it’s okay and important for our kids to be able to “read” our expressions. They should know when we are giving them “the look” that they better knock it off. Kids should also recognize the expression that shows that we are disappointed in their wrong behavior, words, or attitude. However, our normal expression should be a happy one, rather than a scowl. It’s important, not just for our kid’s well-being, but our own as well, that we balance negative feelings with a more positive disposition, especially at home.
While you may not be experiencing full-on Mom-rage we need to be aware of our own feelings and emotions. We need to get a good handle on them before they rage out of control. It takes work. But through prayer, persistent self-awareness, and a solid anger plan, you can make great strides toward showing more grace. Just as God does with each of us!
Our hope is that when “reading” our expressions, our kids will see love written there. We should hope to show kindness with gentle firmness. That’s not always easy! Obviously, as moms, we are human and aren’t going to be perfect at this. In fact, I know that my expressions aren’t always pleasant. In fact, sometimes without even being aware of it, I show the wrong expression, and my kids have asked “What’s THAT look for?” That gives me great motivation to be more aware of my facial expression!
What to do with children who disobey
Maybe you’re wondering about when your kids are showing wrong behavior. Even when showing wrong behavior, they should feel accepted and loved. As we have told our kids, we love YOU but we don’t like your behavior. We don’t have to make mean or even threatening faces and hand motions to get the message across. Often, just the gentle look does the job. Harshness may frighten them into “being sorry” or changing their behavior. But it doesn’t focus on the heart or permanent change. Talk to them about the behavior. Take the time to train them in Godly character. This will do far more than our angry expressions ever will!
I hope and pray that my expressions and body language will show them, love, even when we’re displeased with the behavior. I don’t want you to be a scowling mother!