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  • Does Your Child's Tantrums Make You A Mean Mom? 5 Ways To Feel More Calm And In Control

    Understanding what your child's behavior triggers in you is the first step.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Does Your Child's Tantrums Make You A Mean Mom? 5 Ways To Feel More Calm And In Control
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  • If it seems like you are losing your temper in front of the kids more often these days, know that you are not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us differently, and for some, stress response manifests as anger or mom rage. With our children around 24/7, handling tantrums and meltdowns can also be more frustrating — and triggering.

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    Why is my child’s behavior so triggering?

    On Facebook, Erica Djossa, a registered psychotherapist based in Toronto, Canada, and founder of the Happy as a Mother website, shared an infographic on the possible reasons behind a mom’s short fuse. Here are some of the things that can make you feel like a mean mom toward your kids.

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    You are taking their behavior personally.

    It might seem like a defiant toddler is annoying you on purpose, but “toddlers do not wake up in the morning with the intention of making their parents’ day miserable,” says Lisa Milligan, a Strides Toronto child therapist, in an article by Today’s Parent.

    When young children throw a tantrum, it is often a sign that they need help controlling their emotions. And they are doing it in front of you because you are their safe space. “When little kids respond to something with a big emotion or behavior that contradicts what they’ve been asked to do, they’re actually looking to their parents or caregivers to help them handle their feelings with empathy and understanding,” Milligan adds.

    You have an unidentified need.

    According to experts, that uncontrollable anger may be a sign that you have a need that is not being met at the moment — you might be feeling hungry, tired, or your anxiety is on the rise. The next time you feel your irritation building, try and identify the possible cause so you can prevent yourself from losing your cool. Take a deep breath and step back — allow yourself to rest, to be honest and ask for help when you need it.

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    It makes you feel ashamed and guilty.

    Mom rage also happens because of the pressure to be a “perfect mom.” When your little one has a meltdown, you can’t help but think it’s your fault — “is it because I work at home but can’t give her attention?” “Am I not raising her right?” As a result, you may lash out in return or beat yourself up for not being good enough, according to Djossa.

    Don’t punish yourself for losing your patience. There are no perfect parents — get to know yourself better and find ways to remain calm and deal with your emotions. (Read how to become a better mom without losing yourself in the process here.)

    You feel like you can’t control the situation.

    Parenting is difficult and it can be frustrating when your child doesn’t want to listen no matter what you do. When it happens, just pick your battles — you can pause and wait until they are composed enough and willing to listen, taking the time to calm down yourself. Let them know that if it’s hard for them, then it’s hard for you, too.

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    You didn’t realize the behavior was their way of communicating.

    Tantrums happen because toddlers are still grasping how to control their emotions and communicate their feelings to you. “Before they have words, they use their body language and their cries to attract the attention of adults to meet their needs for love, nurturing, sustenance, and protection,” writes parenting expert and Future-proof Your Child author Nikki Bush in her blog.

    As Djossa puts it, “Kids wil lose their cool. They will melt down. They will hit. They will throw toys. They will test limits. It is to be expected and developmentally understandable for certain ages.” So don’t be too hard on yourself, mama.

    Understanding this can greatly help you in addressing your child’s needs. Observe their behavior (are they approaching an empty emotional cup?) and assist them in identifying their emotions and how to manage it. Not only will it make him happier, it will make you pleased with your parenting, as well.

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    How to handle a defiant toddler without resorting to yelling? Click here for a list of positive parenting tips.

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