If you, too, have trouble keeping your cool at times, and you feel like bashing your hands on the floor and screaming like your toddler... you are not alone. Welcome to the terrible twos and threes. This is probably the most challenging parenting stage before the teenage years. If you are a bit of a hot head anyway (like me!), than you could probably do with some anger management tips.
1. Parental time outs
Time outs seemed to be advised by most parenting experts these days. But super nanny's invention is not loved by every parent. Some think time outs are as damaging to "small souls" as a smack on the bottom, while others have concluded that their kid simply won't stay on that ^%@"~ naughty step! If you find yourself boiling with anger and dangerously close to doing something you regret, it may be time for a parental time out, though. We've been practicing these with a lot of success. If mom or dad is about to reach boiling point, they walk to the bathroom, drink a large glass of water, stay in there until they are ready to behave nicely again.
2. Make the reason you're angry go away
With toddlers, the most common anger triggers are actually relatively small things. We may get angry when our kid spills that chilly powder all over the new white throw (this happened to us, and we threw it away!), but he's really just experimenting. A kid who doesn't want to brush her teeth is just learning she has some control over her body, and the one who keeps nagging about that chocolate while you're shopping... can you really blame her? Cleaning that spilled juice up takes less time and causes less hurt than yelling at your toddler.
3. Express your feelings. Calmly.
"When you refuse to put your clothes on, you'll be late for daycare and mom will be late for work. My boss will be very angry at me!" Verbalize what you feel. Getting it off your chest will help, and if you describe your feelings without directing blame to the child, they may discontinue the "offending" behavior in the future.
4. Remember your priorities
That may sound a bit insulting, but I have to mention it. Most of the time I am angry at my children, it is because they are interrupting something "very important" I am doing (working at home makes this happen often). But perhaps I am interrupting, or disrupting, something really important by getting angry: my relationship with my children. Sure, they have to learn to wait sometimes. But not always. When they were newborns, I never got angry because they wouldn't go to sleep or wanted to breastfeed all the time. I was always there. And it shouldn't be any different now, because they are still my priority in life. More important than that daily dose of stress. Can what you're doing now wait for a moment? The time you spend with your child now will prevent toddler temper tantrums. On the same note, don't care about other people when your child is throwing a tantrum in the supermarket. They'll forget about your "bad parenting", but you being more conscious of those prying eyes than of what your child needs to calm down will make him feel worse, and worsen the toddler tantrum.
If you have a real, serious anger problem to the extent that you seriously worry you can't control yourself, or you actually lash out physically in anger... it is time to seek help. If your own parents had an anger problem, you may not know how to calm yourself down properly. Therapy can be wonderful, and there's certainly no shame in seeking it for anger problems!