Dr. Charles Sophy
Everybody experiences anger and frustration, but it's especially important for parents and caregivers to know how to manage their anger and frustration around children.
The first thing they need to do is identify patterns of what makes them angry and when they get angry. This involves self-awareness. You need to know your own triggers as well as those of your child. Look for patterns. Do you get angry close to lunch time? Is it when you get home from work? Identifying these patterns will help you anticipate and be prepared for frustration. Be honest with yourself. Are there certain times of day when your child is fussy and difficult? If possible, rearrange your schedule to avoid this frustration. As a parent or caregiver, you need to be able to navigate around emotions of anger and frustration. Learn triggers and learn how to cope with those triggers. Find out what helps you calm down.
If you begin to feel anger building, don't act on it! Step back from the situation. Count to ten. Count to 100. Remind yourself to stay in control. Unhook from the moment. Young children are attention seekers and that can be annoying at times. Remove yourself from the situation if you're feeling anger. Phone a friend, read a magazine, look at a photo album. The important thing is to stay in control. The physical act of doing something often helps anger dissipate. If you're still angry, phone a parent hotline and talk to a counselor.
Keeping a journal can help and it can be a great way to recognize patterns. Are you more apt to be frustrated and angry when you are hungry or tired? Just the act of writing can help lessen feelings of frustration and anger.
Being a mother, father or caregiver is time-consuming and can feel stifling if your life doesn't have balance. The best advice I can give parents is to try to get enough sleep, eat healthy meals and eat regularly, exercise, play or socialize when you can find the time. It also helps to be satisfied and fulfilled with your work - whether you work outside the home or are a stay-at-home parent.