“My children get on my nerves”
“I have no patience with my children”
Approximately 60% of parents recognize that their main problem in raising their children is patience. Losing your temper with your children is a relatively common situation. And is not for less. Children do not come with an instruction manual under their arm and parents often discover on the way that raising a child is much more difficult than they thought.
The first thing to do when your children get on your nerves is to understand the real reason behind your anger and lack of patience. Only in this way can we work to create a more positive environment at home and build a functional family in which all its members feel comfortable.
The causes behind lack of patience with children
1. Fatigue. We live in a world that demands too much of us. Work, social commitments, household chores … Most of the days we can do everything, but we get exhausted. To this we must add that children seem to have an unlimited amount of energy, while we wake up already tired. This accumulated fatigue prevents us from exercising self-control and we end up losing patience.
2. Displaced anger. Sometimes we can lose patience with children when they are late going out in the morning or pouring a beverage on the sofa, but the truth is that in most cases the problem is deeper. As adults, we should understand that they are only children and that it is normal for them to make mistakes. If we don’t understand and get angry, we are probably projecting our anger onto them. We could be angry with someone else, like our boss or partner, but instead of facing this latent conflict, we make children the center of that anger and become impatient with them.
3. Unrealistic expectations. We can’t wait for pears from the elm. We are aware of it, but sometimes we forget it. Children are children, if we expect them to behave like adults we will be feeding unrealistic expectations that will end up shattering against the wall of reality. However, every time an expectation is broken we feel frustrated, and it is very easy to pour that frustration on the little ones at home.
4. Lack of planning. We often have a very tight schedule that does not foresee the unpredictability of life and of parenthood or motherhood in particular. The pace of this society forces most people who have children to live faster, rather than allowing them to go at a slower pace to accompany the children. Not planning that things can go wrong will make us angry and lose our nerves, and children will pay for it.
5. Distorted perspective. Sometimes we assume that children are the enemy. We think they do things to annoy us, stress us out, and keep us under siege. This distorted perspective leads us to see ourselves as fighters on a battlefield, when the truth is that it is difficult for us to put ourselves in the place of children, because we always think that our concerns and obligations are more important.
How to stop losing temper with children?
To be good parents, love is not enough, it is necessary to exercise and strengthen the muscle of patience. Fortunately, there are simple strategies to develop patience and counteract those reasons why we lose patience.
1. Recharge your batteries. It’s complicated, but if you lose patience with your kids often, you should do your best to rest when you get the chance. You may have to reduce your social commitments or, on the contrary, go out more to clear your mind, ask for help from your family or distribute household chores more evenly with your partner. Psychological energy is not a bottomless pit, you need to recharge it. If you don’t, people around you will end up paying the consequences and your physical and emotional health will suffer.
2. Demand less of yourself. To stop losing your temper with your children, sometimes you just need to adjust your expectations. Do you wonder if you are demanding a lot from yourself or from your children? You may just have to slow down or assume that some things won’t be perfect, but that’s okay. The world will not end. Motherhood and fatherhood are tough, so you can give yourself permission to ask yourself less.
3. Prioritize. You don’t have to do everything. It is not essential. In fact, it is likely that throughout your day you perform different tasks that take up a large amount of time and energy but are not relevant. Analyze your day to day and eliminate those things that are not essential or relevant. This way you will be less overwhelmed and more rested at the end of the day.
4. Plan, plan, and plan. Imagine what a perfect day would be like. Calculate how much time and energy it takes and triple it for taking into account all the unforeseen events that may occur. As an old English saying goes: “Expect the best, prepare for the worst and take what comes.” Make a list of the things you need to do. So your day will have an order and you will feel in control.
5. Find the true cause of your anger. Ask yourself where that anger comes from. It may be due to an altercation you’ve had with someone else, a problem you haven’t resolved, or other concerns that have nothing to do with your children. Before you lose your patience with them, remind yourself that they are not to blame.
6. Identify your triggers. We all have buttons that, when pushed, make us lose our patience. You need to identify them. Do you lose your patience more early in the morning or at night? Does any particular behavior of your child bother you? When you identify those triggers, you must establish an action plan to avoid them.
7. Stop before the point of no return. The point of no return is the one where you lose your temper and scream. In order not to go to that extreme, you can apply the concept of the “cognitive triangle”, according to which your thoughts, behavior and feelings are connected, so that if you want to change how you feel or your behavior with your children, you just have to change your thoughts. When that spiral of negative thoughts that children can unleash begins, just tell yourself that it will happen. Don’t focus on the negative, think of something positive to help your brain go in another direction.
In any case, if you lose your temper and patience with your children, do not forget to ask for their forgiveness. We all make mistakes, but it is important to recognize it and try to repair the damage caused. This way you will become a positive example of emotion management for your children.