Navigating parental anger

Raising a child has its ups and downs, and sometimes it’s hard not to let frustration get the better of you. How can you best manage these emotions as a parent?

Parenting is a journey filled with love, joy and yes, moments of frustration and anger. While it’s natural to feel angry at times, learning how to manage and express your anger constructively is a key element in fostering healthy relationships within the family. Here are some practical strategies to help you navigate any moments of anger and transform these challenging flashpoints into helpful lessons.

Parental frustration

Frustration and anger are normal human emotions, often triggered by stress, exhaustion or simply feeling overwhelmed. As parents, we may find ourselves getting angry at a particularly tricky tantrum, kids refusing to do what we need them to or any of the other challenging behaviours that children sometimes display. However, it’s important to recognise that how we choose to respond to these frustrating moments can have a significant impact on children’s emotional wellbeing and development.

Being a role model

Children learn by example and parents are usually their main role models for emotional regulation. When we respond to challenging situations with patience, empathy and resilience, we teach kids valuable skills for managing their own emotions effectively. By modelling good techniques, such as taking deep breaths, counting to ten, or taking a break to cool off, we demonstrate that it’s possible and, in fact, normal to navigate anger constructively.

Practise active listening

Good communication is at the centre of resolving any conflict without harming a relationship. When children express themselves, whether through words or actions, it’s important to practise active listening and validate their feelings. By acknowledging their emotions and showing some understanding, we create a more honest emotional environment, where kids won’t feel as defensive and issues are more likely to be sorted out with openness.

Setting clear boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries and expectations helps prevent clashes. When children understand the rules and consequences of their actions, they can decode how to behave more easily. Consistency is key to enforcing boundaries, as it shows children that the goalposts can’t be moved.


Most of the time, when we get angry, the true reason is several layers below the trigger. By reflecting on our responses to anger, we can actually learn a lot about what is truly upsetting us. Motherhood can be demanding, both physically and emotionally. It’s so easy to put your own needs last and slip into the habit of never quite getting around to meeting them. Self-care is the only real way to replenish your reserves, release any built up stress and prevent burnout. Carving out space in your life for self-nurturing activities will go a long way to helping you feel more emotionally balanced and help you be more reflective about the source of your frustrations.

So, next time your little one throws a tantrum, take a moment, ask yourself “where is my anger really coming from?” and try your best to respond to your child with clear boundaries and a listening ear. Navigating parental anger isn’t easy but the rewards are definitely worth it!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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