I’m Yelling and Upset more than I’m Enjoying my Children

Enjoying Time with Your Child

Some parents dread their time with their children because it inevitably becomes a battle ground with yelling, tantrums, meltdowns and regret, for BOTH children and their parents. How does this happen? Isn’t parenting supposed to be enjoyable and our bond with our children, well, golden? Sometimes not.

What’s going on for a parent who is depleted, quick to anger and weak in the face of a tantrum? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  1. This parent is not taking care of herself. Are you feeling healthy in your life? Eating and sleeping well? Do you have things in your life that
    Upset Parent

    Upset Parent – photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

    bring you joy? Make a list of the things you enjoy from simple to elaborate, some that cost money and others that don’t. Go ahead, make your list as long and detailed as you can. Decide on one thing you can do every day and another that you’ll do once a week. I know, I know! I’ve heard it all. You’re busy. There’s no time. No money. But please, don’t get stuck in your own resistance or excuses. Just do it. Can you do some yoga stretches in the morning? Get up early to enjoy your cup of coffee in silence? Use a special essential oil on your heart each morning. And for your weekly enjoyment, how about go to lunch with a girlfriend? Or arrange a childcare trade with a friend so you can have some time to yourself. Or go for a walk. What will it be?

  2. This parent is having trouble managing his emotions. Emotional health is said to be one of the most important factors in raising successful children. You know, to be aware of their emotions, communicate clearly and get what they need so they are able to solve problems, manage frustration and move toward optimism. Sounds great, right?! Well, how are YOU doing with emotional regulation? On any given day, are you able to manage yourself and stay in a calm state in order to truly connect with your children? Many of my clients talk about developing habits that can work in a moment, to manage their emotions. I’m not talking about stuffing them and pretending they’re not there. But deep breathing, taking a break, writing in a journal, stating your emotions and needs in a non-hurtful way. When parents can learn this important skill of emotional management, our children learn by example and chances are your spouse will appreciate it, as well.
  3. This parent doesn’t have a strong foothold in enjoying time with her children.  Let’s look at the miracle of these children. Ok, I know. Sometimes it’s hard. But how about you plan to say a prayer or meditate each morning on the sheer divine energy of each of your children. The God that exists in them and the goodness that is at the heart of their existence.  Just a few deep breaths each day to honor them, and YOU, for that matter. Hold that vision to create a sense of purpose in parenting. Ask yourself, what are the ways my kids and I can truly enjoy time together? It may be that you cancel the errands you had planned this morning to just play together. Build a fort. Get all the trucks out and make a parking garage out of old boxes. Perhaps it’s just to play that favorite song on the stereo while you’re driving. What is happening when you and your children are all enjoying something together? You feel good. They feel good. It’s good for both of you. Go to the park. Go to a museum. Play a game. Unstructured jammie time at home. Whatever it is, find it. Then you’ll have a compass to remind you where/ how you want to be with your children. Yes, some days are hard. Some days there’s yelling and upset. But not all the time.

It’s worth making the commitment to take care of yourself, manage your emotions and develop the habit of enjoying your kids. It doesn’t come automatically and will take some work. But that’s what parenting is, right? If you can do these things, parenting will be more enjoyable and you’ll have some skills in place to manage whatever challenges may come up. Remember, it’s good for you and it’s good for the kids.

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Leave A Reply (6 comments so far)

  1. Leah Davies
    3 years ago

    Abby is right, taking time for yourself is important for your and your child’s mental health. It’s tough. but get in touch with your emotions and provide some listening, caring TIME for your child or children. Try to get a positive interactive cycle going by noticing what your child does right and comment. For a helpful tool, the Kelly Bear Feelings book, that enhances the adult-child relationship and promotes open communication and bonding, see: http://www.kellybear.com/Kelly_Bear_Books/KBBooks-Feelings_Book2col.html
    For the bilingual English/Spanish edition, see: http://www.kellybear.com/Kelly_Bear_Books/KBBooks-FeelingsB_Book2col.html

    • Abby Bordner
      3 years ago

      Thanks, Leah! I always appreciate your perspective. Thanks for sharing your resources.

  2. Rodney C. Davis
    3 years ago

    We have to do all we can to impress upon caregivers that taking care of themselves, having fun and taking time to focus on their own growth, will pay dividends for the children just as well. It still amazes me how much this fact escapes us when we’re in the trenches doing all we can for our families. It’s a worthwhile theme to collaborate on around the globe.

    • Abby Bordner
      3 years ago

      You’re so right, Rodney. I appreciate your comment. Do you think men are better at self care than women? It seems to me that women describe their husbands as taking time to do the things they enjoy and saying “no” more easily in order to stay on track with their self care. What do you think?

  3. julia saunders
    3 years ago

    Very true and well written! Thank you for this succinct and very helpful guide.

    • Abby Bordner
      3 years ago

      You’re welcome, Julia! Thanks for your interest in my work.