Do you ever feel like you want to throttle your kids?
Come on, admit it, we all do sometimes.
And IT’S OK.
Of course, it’s never ok to hit or threaten children. If you are doing that, please, please get help as soon as possible. But that's not the topic of this article.
What I’m talking about here is FEELING like you want to hit them. The anger builds up and you don’t know what to do with it so you stuff it down. And then you feel guilty about it. They are innocent little creatures after all.
It might seem like our children are made to press our buttons. And in a sense, they are. The ones closest to us (hubby included) often push us to our emotional limits.
It may be true that the people closest to us are here to show us our blind spots, the areas where we still need to learn and grow on our journey in this life.
And if anger is a hard one for you to know what to do with, you will get every opportunity to work with that one, mama. ❤
Anger is a hard one in our society. It’s not socially acceptable. Probably because it’s associated with the UNHEALTHY EXPRESSION of anger, ie: hitting, violence, abuse.
There are unhealthy ways to express anger, and there are healthy ways.
And the bottom line is that FEELING anger itself is ok.
In fact, it's more than ok. Anger is a normal human emotion that we all experience. And if you’re reading this, you are human and have access to a full range of emotions (whether they are always in your conscious awareness or not).
Problems arise when we stuff our anger. We don’t feel like it’s ok so we push it down. Repressing anger can lead to all sorts of issues like physical and emotional dis-ease.
And it also cuts us off from feeling "happier" emotions, like joy and excitement.
We can't cut off one emotion without dampening our experience of them all.
In my family, there was verbal and physical abuse a couple of generations back. Anger uncontrolled, and expressed in an unhealthy way. So I grew up believing that anger wasn’t ok, and for many years I believed that I didn’t even feel anger!
Last night, my 14 month old was having trouble getting to sleep. He was restless and having some teething pain.
I lay with him for about an hour and a half before he finally fell asleep. My emotions were cycling through frustration, compassion, worry, helplessness and anger.
Because of my family history, and probably societal expectations too, my gut reaction when the anger came up was to feel guilty. I SHOULDN’T be angry at him for taking up my whole evening.
It's not his fault. He’s little, he’s innocent, and he’s actually in pain (from teething)!
And yes, all of that is true.
AND I’m a busy working mom who was desperate for a little alone time and time with hubby in the evening.
And even fully knowing that it wasn’t his fault and he just needed his mommy to be there with him...it was still ok for me to feel that anger.
Because feelings aren’t necessarily the truth. They come up, usually triggered from something in the past. The way through is to allow yourself to feel them, express them in a healthy way, then let them go.
So last night I consciously reminded myself that it’s alright to feel my anger. I felt it, I contained it, and when I had the opportunity, I expressed it in a healthy way.
What are some healthy ways to express anger, you ask?
This is where you get to have some fun.
Let it all out on inanimate objects. Hit your couch, hit your bed. Take a big pillow, or my favourite, a pool noodle, and let ‘er rip. You can even imagine the person you’re angry at while you’re doing it. The key is that you’re letting out your anger without actually hurting anyone.
I’ve been teaching my 4 year old how to express his anger in a healthy way, and he loves it when we beat up the bed together ☺
If you’re in a situation where it’s just not appropriate to let it all out like that, you can do what I call a Silent Release: go to another room, or even just when they have their backs turned, and have a little silent tantrum. It can work wonders.
So, the take home message here: Feeling angry at your kids is normal and OK. Expressing it in a healthy way is normal and OK.
Now go beat up your bed. ♥
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If your anger around your kids is feeling bigger than you can handle, contact me here. I can help you get to the root of your issues with anger and teach you tools to feel and express your anger in a healthy way.