We all remember getting our dad to breaking point and the fear of what his reaction would be. I, for one, remember vividly the fear of being the reason for my father’s loss of temper. Truth be told though, my father was not a very scary man. Neither was he really terrifying when he was shouting (in retrospect, when looking back). He just had his moment, that’s all!
Regardless, his moments of anger are still very vivid in my memory (and it is only fair to assume that my moments of anger will stick with my own child as well).
Why NOT to be an Angry Dad?
Duh! Dumb question really but let’s break it down.
Angry dad is scary
Well yes, facing an angry adult can be quite daunting for a little person. Let alone someone that they know to be loving and caring! And surely, the thought of your child being scared of you is not something that you’re striving for. Rather, you want your child to admire you, love you, look up to you…
Don’t be remembered as an angry dad
Kids remember everything. EVERYTHING! I don’t know how they do it, I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday! If you do get angry repeatedly, well, the power of association will take the upper hand and your child will remember you as being an angry dad. And, you know what? Our mood affects our children in the long run!
It’s not useful to anyone
When has anybody said that loosing your sh*t will help the situation? Rather, being an angry dad just brings the worst of fatherhood our. It clouds your judgement and tricks you into making poor decision. Let’s face it, being a good dad is all about taking good decisions and acting as a good role model.
But it is inevitable
But we are human after all. We all lose it at some stage (and let’s face it, the constant lack of sleep doesn’t help!). So, it will happen, you will be angry and you will start shouting, kicking and screaming (who’s the child now?!). Whilst we can’t stop it, we can train ourselves to keep it under control and avoid finding ourselves in situations that we know won’t end well.
Though it can be useful
Did I not just write, a few lines ago, that it’s not useful to anyone? How can you take this article seriously?
Jokes apart, knowing that ‘Dad can get angry’ can be a good parenting tool. You can use this to control a situation or enforce a behaviour. After all, no child is actively looking to face an angry dad (let alone be the trigger to his anger).
So find the balance
At the end of the day, it’s about finding the right balance. You want to avoid loosing it completely, throwing plates at the wall or being completely irrational in your rage. But, use this tool to prevent bad behaviour from your child.
You’re the adult
Above all, remember, you’re the adult. If you let yourself be overtaken by anger, your child will get scared and start crying. You’ll end up with the two of you screaming, shouting and crying which, obviously, will not get you anywhere.
They will remember!
These little people never forget. NEVER!
So how NOT to be the Angry Dad?
I am the first to put my hand up and admit I have lost it occasionally with my child (granted, you can count these instances on one hand, but he’s only 3 years old). Usually it’s because of a combination of factors: frustration, anger, exhaustion, the little man being disobedient or him being simply a little boll*ck. And that’s fine, it happens. But here are some ways I have found to avoid it getting to the better of me.
After a while, you figure out exactly how your child manages to push your buttons and what pushes you over the edge. The trick here is to take action before you reach your boiling point. Few ways of doing so:
- Explain calmly to the child that “you have to stop this now” (no shouting) If they continue, well, nip it in the but. You’re the adult after all and you dictate what they can or can’t do!
- Divert their attention to something else (kid going bananas because they can’t get ice-cream? Oh, look, a bird!)
- Get the referee involved (mum) and walk away.
But you can’t get angry at your child without having given them pre-warning beforehand.
When you do start feeling the anger creeping up, it’s time for you to slow down. Granted, this is against your instinct but you need to make sure you remain rational and made decisions that make sense (to you and to the child). Acting on an impulse, not thinking things through, reacting will just make the situation trickier for everybody.
You know that good all trick of counting to 10? Try getting to 4 and work your way up.
Here is a little video to see what you might have to face:
Kid vs Adult
Always remember, who’s the kid and who’s the adult? The child is much less likely to rationally analyse the situation and keep a lid on their emotions.
The situation you’re trying to avoid here is for you to shout, scare the child, for him to start crying and stop listening to the point you’re trying to get across, you getting more frustrated and shouting more. Mum walks in and both you and your child are a complete mess. So breathe, take a step back and look at the ridicule of the situation.
Your buzzwords to keep in mind here are: “cool”, “calm” and “collected”. If you raise your voice, you’ve lost. If you look and act upset/emotional, you’ve lost. Show them that you’re in full control and still in charge (of yourself and them) and BOOYAAA!
Explain it to them
Shouting without explanation simply does not work. You have to make sure their little mind understands why you’re not happy and what they have done to put you in that state. Always offer them a few ways of making things right again (at that age, they might not be in a position to think outside the box yet).
It is fair to assume that they know you can shout louder than them. 🙂
Overall, anger happens, it’s normal and it’s okay (within reason). But don’t let this feeling become a hindrance to your relationship with your child and remember that being angry too often can be disastrous to your child. You are their role model and if you keep a lid on your emotions, you teach them to do the same (and hopefully that will help turn them into reasonable, responsible adults)
Check out some ways you can use to bond with your daughter here. Also, this article about how it’s okay that you won’t like all aspects of fatherhood, but it’s worth the overall effort.