You’re not alone. Every parent has moments that we look back on and wonder why we lost our cool like that. Maybe it's an afternoon where you’re feeling extra irritable or “ triggered” by your kids' normal behaviors. Maybe it's a single episode of exploding at your kid when they make a mistake and then regretting it. Sometimes we find ourselves in a longer season of coming across as the “mad mom” or “explosive dad”.
I personally have an ongoing frustration with my oldest child who is now technically an adult, as he just celebrated his 18th birthday. For as long as he has been going to school, he has struggled with being ready to leave on time. I know he's capable of getting up and leaving on time because this fall when his football coach made it clear that arriving on time for school was a requirement for being eligible to play in the Friday night game, he did whatever it took to hot-foot it out of the house in time.
But now, the football season is done and that external motivator isn't there. We are back to frustrating mornings of poor time management. I've tried many approaches to help him succeed. The most recent approach has been letting him choose to be late for school and explain it to the teachers himself. The end result was that he was late for school everyday for a week! I'm not seeing him learning from his mistakes quite yet
Today he was late again, and I became a “mad mom.”
Can you think of your last angry parent moment? What led up to it? Usually it's a combination of factors. Something in our kids' behaviors, what they do or don't do, what they say or don't say, gets under our skin. But how resilient we are to these frustrations and our ability, in the moment, to pause and think of the response we want to have rather than reacting on our first impulse has a lot to do with how well our own basic needs are being met.
When we have unmet needs we are going to feel more irritable, frustrated, impatient and inflexible, just like our kids feel when they have unmet needs.
So the next time you find yourself feeling like the “mad mom” or “explosive dad”, consider these possible unmet needs and how you can meet them to help you stay more balanced and regulated.
Do you have a child or know a child who is quick to anger or expresses their anger in challenging ways? Raising a child who is often on the emotional edge of "losing it" can make parents and caregivers feel like they are walking on egg shells. This leads to chronic stress in the home for parents, siblings and the child struggling with their emotions.