This week I revealed something personal and uncomfortable to share. I declared it accidentally. If you clicked on this post is because you read the title and you can relate so far. I was having a discussion, and the topic of the mother’s guilt arose. They asked me, “Do you ever feel mom’s guilt?” I revealed that I used aggression with my child at the beginning of my parenting years. As I write these words for others to see, my stomach crunches with guilt and shame.
I grew up in a household that practiced physical discipline. My grandparents did it to my parents, and they were passing on their ancestral knowledge to me. When my turn came to educate and discipline my children, aggression didn’t feel natural. I was angry, and resentful and would cry after having shown aggression toward my daughter. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know how to control my anger or what to do other than use aggression as a form of discipline.
I prayed a lot for clarity and guidance, so God guided me to a better way with some bumps and turns. I started reading books, watching physiologists on Youtube, and studying child development until I realized that the problem arouse from my childhood traumas. I had to look deep into my traumas and face them with courage.
Has my path ended? Absolutely not. I’m still far from perfect, but what I am satisfied with is that I am ok with the learning process. I still make mistakes, I yell and show my anger. However, with the tools that I am about to announce, I can recognize and control my emotions before it controls me. I no longer dwell in doubt and shame, all because I learned how to cope and manage my emotions better, not perfect but better.
When I revealed this dark past, I realized that if I can help someone feel better as a mother, eliminate guilt and shame so they can enjoy their motherhood journey.
If you stomped upon this post, it’s already an indication that you would like to change, and that in itself is the ingredient toward change. Everyone’s path will be different, and there will be some setbacks but that’s all part of self-improvement. It’s all about baby steps and the journey, not so much the destination. Without further delay, let’s proceed to the list of tips that helped me manage my anger better.
Don’t take it personally
Your kids are not angry at you, do not take it personally. If your child is going to throw a tantrum or a small breakdown and they take it on you, they are not trying to get on your nerves, they are seeking your help. Just yesterday one of my children had a meltdown and my blood started boiling, I knew not to engage at the time because I knew I was not going to deal with the situation rationally. This leads me to the next tip.
If you need to go out of the room where your child is hysterically crying, do it. I often go to my room, shut the door, open my window stare at the movement outside and take a couple of breaths.
Breathing is the next step. Model and teach your kids how to breathe during their meltdowns. I tell my kids, “Let’s breathe together 3, 5, 10”, or whatever how many times it takes. We breathe together and I count each breath that we take. Breathe in and out,1. Breath in and out, 2, and so forth.
This tip works wonderfully which is giving your child some autonomy over their choices but still having control of the outcome. Let’s say your child doesn’t want to get up for school, a typical scenario that happens in every household. You can give your child 2 choices that you are ok with, no matter what the child will choose. For example, if the child doesn’t want to get up, you can say something like this, “You have 2 choices, you can either get dressed on your own or I can put your clothes on or help you put your clothes on.” If they refuse to choose, you can even say, “If you don’t choose, I’ll choose in the count of 3.
Counting is the next tip. On a count of 3, start putting your shoes on, or go brush your teeth. 1, 2, 3 and you will see your kids starting to move toward the end goal. My kids now know that if they do nothing at the count of 3 it means I will get their hands and help them do it which they don’t want because they feel like they lost control of their choices.
I found that kids can understand your feelings no matter their age. That is why communication is very important. I mess up all the time, yell, and still attempted to show aggression. Whenever I mess up, I quickly communicate with them, let them know how I’m feeling, apologize and assure them that they haven’t done anything wrong, it’s their mother who cannot control her emotions for whatever reason. Children are empathetic towards people’s feelings, so never underestimate their ability to understand you.
Forgive your parents for their mistakes and the traumas that they caused you. I used to think that my mother was a mythical being and that she didn’t possess vulnerability. The reality is that our mother’s themselves got their traumas from their parents but they didn’t have the resources that we are fortunate to have in this era which is the internet and even recent research that has transformed the way we deal with and interact with children.
If you have multiple children then you know that each of your children has its unique personality and will not respond to your discipline methods the same way. Some of these tips I share might work better with some of your children and not that well the other. What I like about these tips is that they can be flexible, you can modify them to work with your family and the individual child.
In conclusion, you can start applying these tips today in your life and you will see that you will start enjoying your journey as a mother. Your kids will cooperate with you more allowing you to have mental freedom to work towards self-development. Note, that it’s ok to make mistakes, just keep trying again the next day and the next and the next.
Tell me which of these tips will you start practicing today?
Leave a Reply