Is It Okay To Scream At Your Child?
"Mummy, I cannot eat anymore."
One look at his plate which still had a lot of food on it and I went berserk.
"I don't know anything. You HAVE to finish your food," I yelled out at the highest decibels sending him shivers.
Frightened, he began gulping down the food only to end up throwing up on his clothes and on the floor. This was the maximum I could take it with my fury shooting up high. I rejected him, leaving him to clean up by himself and retreated to the bed under the covers.
This happened to me and my son when he was 5 years old and you can imagine how horrifying it must have been for him given his limited abilities not just to clean up but to understand what had actually happened. And, this was not just a one-time thing since it happened often.
I am not a cruel person but unfinished meal and throwing up gets to me bringing out the worst monsters out of my inner closet.
When a particular incident brings out the same negative reaction time and again, it definitely needs to be worked out. It is worth looking into the reasons behind such a pattern. It is worth looking into the triggers.
What are your Parenting Triggers?
“Triggers” are the things that ignite the fire within you, so to speak. These are the things that lead to your yelling, getting angry and upset. Most people don’t take the time to stop and think about what triggered their response. It seems automatic.
However, anger is usually a mask for another emotion such as sadness, fear, worry, hurt or disappointment. Showing these other feelings feels vulnerable.
While I have prominently experienced the above mentioned 2 triggers, there may also be other kinds of triggers for a parent -
- Concern about safety
- Children arguing or talking back
- Children being rude
- Children being dishonest
- Children throwing a tantrum
- Loud noises
- Feeling exhausted
- Lack of personal space
How to deal with triggers?
- Write it out: Keep a running list of situations when you responded with anger and a possible trigger. Writing helps to get the emotions straight.
- Take a time-out: Calm your brain and your body by giving yourself a little break. It may be a 10-second deep breath or it may be a 10-minute walk.
- Work it out: Focus on repairing the relationship with your child after an argument. If possible, brainstorm ways that you can both do things differently next time.
- Talk it out: Finding a mental health professional may be the most important step you take in managing your anger. Triggers from past relationships, an explosive or dangerous temper, extreme anxiety or depression may be too difficult to change without support.
With time, you will be aware of possible trigger situations, and be able to intervene before you act out with anger.
Perhaps, a little reminder to ourselves will be helpful for us from going on a guilt-trip - "I am a work-in-progress parent who is trying to get better with time."
Also read: Practicing Mindfulness With Children
Explore the entire collection of articles: Parenting Gyaan