20 answers

Feeling Guilty About Raising My Voice

I'm feeling guilty about losing my patience with my daughter who is 15 months. I would never hit or harm her in any way ever, but sometimes I lose my patience and raise my voice at her. It is usually at times when she is tired, clingy, hungry and I'm trying my best to fix whatever need she has. Typically I just need a few minutes to finish, which she doesn't understand and just wants me to hold her and then things escalate from there. She starts crying louder and harder and my patience begins running out--fast. My question for all you moms out there is how do you handle these stressful situations and feeling guilty when you know you could of handled it differently?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

you have to read one of the best books on dealing with mommy anger: She's gonna blow! By Julie Barnhill. It gave me a lot of insight on losing my temper with my kids!

2 moms found this helpful

Do you have a sling or child carrier to carry her in? This always helped me a LOT. I would just put the kids in there and go about my business.

1 mom found this helpful

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The worse thing about yelling at your kids is that it trains them not to take you seriously unless you are yelling. That creates more frustration for you and leads to more yelling. It's a vicious cycle that is hard to break. I'm speaking from experience here!

I handled my frustration by lowering my standards. For my house, that is. I love having a clean, neat house but it wasn't possible to keep it that way with kids so I settled for livably clean and functionally neat. Anyway, now my children are older and I have time to clean all I want but really miss having a little one in my lap or holding hands across the street. Don't miss out on those hugs, our kids outgrow them too soon!

5 moms found this helpful

Hi J. - Boy, do I know what you're talking about. I am instinctively a yeller. However, I have seen my oldest daughter become a yeller because it's what she learned from me, and we're now trying to un-learn that, which is terribly more difficult than working on only myself to parent differently! So keep that in mind!

One thing that has helped is praying for patience! It's finally coming, after years of asking! Another thing is that I apologize to my girls, even if they're infants, for yelling at them. If I find myself apologizing more than once in a day I know it's time to refocus again and rededicate myself to doing a better job. When I lay in bed at night and think, "What if she dies in her sleep or gets kidnapped?" (I know, I'm a morbid person) I think about having yelled at her during the day, and I just cry and cry! I never want to have regrets of how I treated my child if I were to never see her again.

They say you can only control your own behavior, but actually as a mom, you have a lot of control over your child's behavior also. They take cues from you and mimic you. Try to always put her first. Be a better planner. You know when the bad times are, so sit down and figure out how to avoid them. Can she sit in her high chair with a snack and you can visit with her while you make supper? Can you tell that every afternoon at 1:30 she has a melt down as nap time approaches? Well then, make 1:00 cuddle time and read a book with her before putting her down. Whatever it is, you are mommy, which means you have to "fix it". If she ends up crying and you've tried to help in every way you can, then just envision yourself as the Mommy of Steel and breathe deeply as you hold your crying child (or listen to her in her crib if she won't let you hold her!)

Supernanny's book helped me a lot with strategies and a good stern talking to about raising my voice!! Borrow it from the library or buy it.

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Please, give yourself a break and know that every Mom has been in your situation and has raised her voice. You know what works best for you and your daughter, but when my son was that age, I would give him a time-out in his crib for 1 minute whenever his behavior became unacceptable.

It may help to avoid these situations by scheduling some play time with your daughter first, then explaining that you need her to play by herself for a while so you can get some things done. Or, you could have her help you...I used to let my son vaccuum so he thought he was helping, and he loved it.

One final thought, it's easy for Moms to get worn down and spread too thin. Give yourself permission to NOT get everything done sometimes. Also, work out a time with your husband, once a week, for you to have time to yourself. It needs to be an entire afternoon or evening. You'll find you have much more patience if you take care of your needs too.

I hope this helps. I definitely don't have all the answers, but I can surely empathize with you. Good luck.

Kim from Keizer

4 moms found this helpful

I'm a yeller too when I get frustrated. I'm now 65 and have learned so much that helps me keep my cool. In my career there was seldom time to take a few minutes to calm down and start over. Since I've been retired and now have grandchildren I've been pleased to notice that I don't yell nearly so often. I haven't figured out all of the changes in me that helped but I'll try to describe the ones I'm aware of.

My first thought when reading your post is that you have the answer when you say "she just wants me to hold her." There us no reason to rush to the end before you hold her.

I started life goal oriented. For you the goal you are trying to acsomplish is to finish before you hold her. Would it help to have as your goal to hold her, help her calm down and then the two of you work on what she needs?

I've become more process oriented. A part of calming her is to calm yourself so that you can just hold her. Being held by you is often more important than giving her a dry diaper, getting her into her jammies, fixing a bottle, etc.

My daughter is goal oriented. sometimes when I'm at her house I find myself getting frustrated and angry at the kids because I want to finish loading the dishwasher before I pay attention to them. So they act out and I eventually have to deal with 2 wound up kids when if I'd followed my heart, I would've stopped doing the dishes and spent time with them. The dishes are actually unimportant to me but they are very important to my daughter. I cringe as I write that because when she was small getting the dishes done almost always came first for me. I slip back into my old ways of doing things.

HOw I'd love to do the job of mother over, knowing what I know now! I had expected to be able to teach some of the things tht I learned to my daughter but she seems to have to learn it for herself. Sometimes she'll respond with "that's the way you did it" and brush me off.

I have also learned that if I arrange time for myself, having fun, I am more resilient and become less easily frustrated and I yell less. I am also more relaxed so that I can feel the process instead of the goal.

I was a working single mother of an adopted special needs child. But yet I thought I had to keep a neat house complete with dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming and dishes done. Kitchen counters should be for the most part cleared off. I realize now that I've become a sloppy housekeeper that raising my daughter would've been easier and more fun if I'd let go of my housekeeping standards.

Sometimes it works, when I'm about to yell, to do something funny such as dancing a jig sing songing what I'm doing or how the child is feeling. We both end up laughing. My 8 yo granddaughter uses that technique too. It's difficult to be angry when one is laughing.

more later

3 moms found this helpful

I found that just holding her can help you both calm down, she gets that moment of "mommy time" and you get that moment to love her and kiss her and smell her hair. After about 15 SECONDS of quality focused love, you can think of the things you need to do to help her let you finish your job like putting her in the highchair next to you to play, eat and whatch and listen to you tell her how to properly peal and chop a carrot. After that 15 seconds sometimes it will be just a few more seconds to tickle and play and then she can go on her way, other times she needs your attention and you can figure out ways to let her "help you" or give her the pots and pans to bang, I like the "music" better than the yelling and whining, and you can teach her how to be quiet and loud with it and big pan and little pan, shapes, colors, etc. Sometimes just being silly will help. Or laughing! Laugh in all of the ways you can think of - ha ha hee hee ho ho hu hu etc, this will get her laughing too. This is fun to do at the store, bucause it cheers everyone to hear a baby laugh. Other store thing is to get a snack that she can eat, either bring your own or save the bag to pay for it. I used to get irritated with people feeding their kids in the store before they bought it, but I have found it is the only way to get the job done, and if you go on the day when the produce gets restocked there is alway the grocer with the knife ready to give you a sample. (but keep it to healthy snacks only or you could end up with trouble later, mom picks the snack not the kid)
And with the 15 second rule, this helped with my husband too, I needed a hug and he was too busy, so I held on and counted out loud the seconds to remind him how short of time it takes to give a good hug. After a few times you don't need to count.
Sometimes you just need the touch from someone to get recharged. My parents do "power hugs" all of the time, it helps to release negative energy and transfer good energy to each other.
Enjoy that sweet angle of yours,
J. #4

3 moms found this helpful

you have to read one of the best books on dealing with mommy anger: She's gonna blow! By Julie Barnhill. It gave me a lot of insight on losing my temper with my kids!

2 moms found this helpful

I give myself timeouts when I feel my stress level rising too fast too control, I set the timer and walk around in the yard or go to my room and do some stretches and breathing. I have often had to deal with the post yelling guilt and it is hard, but let it go and move on. You are doing the best you can with what you've got and none of us are perfect. Guilt only exacerbates your stress. At her age it is best to drop whatever you are trying to achieve in the moment (it is never as important as the love you two share)and get down to her level and communicate your love and compassion to both her and yourself. I try to take in my own soothing words as if I am almost talking more to myself than her.
Good luck and don't beat yourself up, almost everyone has been there! and those that haven't... well I haven't met them!

2 moms found this helpful

Yes, we all do yell from time to time and feel the guilt. You have so many wonderful advices how to deal with that. Here my thoughts, too. At this stage they need schedule for everything, if they know what is coming next, you will have less tantrums and less need to yell. If she is well rested and not hungry, you will have a much less cranky toddler. She needs a mommy play time, too, so make the effort to schedule it. And when she starts crying, try to lower your voice and whisper whatever you want to say. If she wants to hear you, she will need to stop crying. Yelling..., you just teaching her that it is OK to yell and soon you will see the results. Plus you will end up with another problem, she will not listen to you until you start yelling. I know it is hard not to yell sometimes, we are all humans, but keep that in mind as one of the things you need to learn too. Keep practice and one day you will find your-self whispering instead of yelling and your girl will stop crying so she can hear you. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

J., I have a 15 m.o. old too, and find myself losing patience and getting loud. I just read a book called "Mommy Guilt," which I found used at Powells. It has a simple list of silly "mantras" that help remind yourself exactly what's important. The book if full of humor for all stages of parenthood (and couple-hood), and really straightforward advice about how to get back to the basics, the reasons we became parents in the first place. Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J.! You are not alone...I struggle daily with the same thing. It seems my children do not hear me until my voice is escalated. Very frustrating. I try to take one day at a time, and pray at the beginning of my day for a patience that only God can provide. I know I am not a patient person with children...nagging, whining, crying. But I have come really far since I had my first (4 years ago). I've started to learn my triggers, and when I recognize what makes me get to that point, I can stop it. I was also given some great advice once...That is, to remember that I am here to love and care for my children, and when I look at their needs as a nuisance, interrupting me and what I need to get done, then I lose perspective. When I change the priorities to their needs more important that mine, it is easier to love them through all the whining and nagging. I am slowly learning to stop whatver I am doing if my child needs me. Easier said than done! But it has helped me keep my cool. Guilt can ruin you, don't let it. Remember each day we get to start over, and those sweet little kiddos don't hold grudges...thank the Lord!

2 moms found this helpful

It's a challenge. I have two suggestions which worked for me as a mom, and now again as a grandmother.

First, I used to make regular time to remember the reasons I wanted to be a mom. I'd find these minutes in the shower, walking to the mailbox, lying in bed at night or in the morning, watching my daughter sleeping, whenever. I had to make that a deliberate practice. And then I would realize how grateful and delighted I was to have this challenging little person depending so completely upon me. There was something deeply reassuring about that process, and it would "reboot" my mothering instincts, even when I was tired or stressed.

The other thing that I found particularly helpful was to track when those whiny stress events would usually occur (during dinner prep and grocery shopping were our trickiest times). I looked at those times from my child's point of view, noticed how I fed the problem with my own habitual behavior and reactions, and planned ahead to alleviate the problems before they occurred. (For example, I prepared small nutritious snacks and reserved special toys that would charm her through these times, or made up funny stories about the "adventure" we were having at the store.)

This might sound like it will take too much time or effort, but you will actually be saving yourself and your daughter unneeded stress, and you will enjoy each other so much more. It is time and effort that will pay for itself many times over.

Don't punish yourself too harshly if you occasionally snap at her. As long as you are dependably caring, patient most of the time, and not harming her, she'll be okay. And those little slips will give you a chance to model how to apologize and control emotional impulses as she grows.

2 moms found this helpful

A lot of parents raise their voice when they too are frustrated, tired, and hungry. :D I did this a LOT when my son was younger. My father actually took a recorder and recorded my voice when I was upset. If you've ever seen Dr. Doolittle (Eddie Murphy), the lady in the vet office screaming "CHAUNCY SIT DOWN! SIT DOWN CHAUNCY!" Good gracious! I was HORRIBLE. I kept thinking if this is what I sounded like to me...imagine what my wee one was thinking. Don't be too hard on yourself. As a parent of a 5 yr old son with Sensory Integration Dysfunction/Disorder, I get frustrated sometimes and raise my voice. I'm learning that in order for them to stay calm, you have to stay calm. :D Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Oh boy do I ever sympathize with you. We have a 6 month old and sometimes my husband just loses it when he doesn't know what to do to soothe her. I am a classroom teacher and it really takes hard work to not just unload sometimes. I know there are folks out there who don't want their kids to cry, but can you take 10-15 seconds to yourself at those time, breathe in and out, and then approach her? I know that amount of time can seem like an enternity, but you need to be in the right frame of mind to help your daughter. Not only does she want your attention, but she's picking up on clues that will create her personality as an child/teen/adult. 15-month olds still have trouble communicating (just like 9-10 yr olds do). I know you can't explain to her that that's not the way to get your attention, but she can begin to learn to see that you calm yourself to deal with her temper. Not tit-for-tat temper matching temper. It has also helped me to think of my daughter as the helpless, clueless little being that she is. When I do that, I can't bring myself to raise my voice to her. I actually find myself "whining" to her saying that, "If I knew how to soothe her I would do it in a heartbeat. And I'm doing everything I know how to stay calm and to calm her as well." I know she doesn't understand a word, but my voice is calm and sing-songy and as each of us knows intonation is EVERYTHING!

Much, much luck! You have my best and most powerful calming thoughts with you!

1 mom found this helpful

I know exactly how you feel!
There was a great article on WWW.MSN.COM this morning: "9 Ways to Prevent a Meltdown - Your Kid's and Yours, Too. I'm going to give some of their suggestions a try - read the article and see what you think.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Do you have a sling or child carrier to carry her in? This always helped me a LOT. I would just put the kids in there and go about my business.

1 mom found this helpful

Welcome to being a mom.
Make sure your child isn't tired and needs rest.
If that's not the problem... tell your child that you need a "time out". They understand a lot more than you think.

Don't spend too much time on feeling guilty just think about how you can do better next time.

If you are woman of faith, don't forget to pray about being a mom and what is best for our own children.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
I think all of us Mom's and Dad's go through the same thing when it comes to this. My daughter was extremely difficult as a baby. I mean, she would fight with all her strengh not to take naps and everything. I would feel guilty for the feelings I expressed or the voice that I raised. We are humans and it is touch and exhausting to have our little ones constantly needing or wanting something. So give yourself a break and try to remember that she is only 15 months old and is learning her way to life!

Well, yeah... I think anyone should feel guilty about raising their voice to a 15 mo old, or any young child. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but there are other ways to communicate & resolve problems. You might want to read Unconditional Parenting, it really helped me gain healthier ways of communication & disciplining.

All the advice is good, but one thing no one mentioned was your husband. Why does he work too much? He is a father to your daughter and it sounds like you are doing most of the work of taking care of everything.
When we feel burdened by all the housework and the child-rearing it gives us a lot of stress.
Maybe you could ask him to help you out more so that you have time to take a break and take care of yourself.
You are not perfect. You are a human being with flaws and wonderful quirks. Yelling is what we do sometimes. You can make an effort to not yell in the future as much, but don't fret over what had already happened.
Good luck.

We all get upset and I am sure you are tired! Raising a child can be very draining. Sometimes when we don't really think about it we React using our auto-pilot parenting skills... in other words, we default to getting upset. Instead, Respond. Make a decision before you are about to deal with her for the day that you will not react to anything, that you will be responding. Over time and through repetition, you will get better at it.
We all know that we do our best. The truth is that there are very few instances where it is appropriate to shout at children... in case of fire, etc. Good for you for reaching out and getting some help with this issue!!
As far as stress is concerned, you should think about carving out some time for yourself to get some exercise or meditation. (that is a challenge, I know!!)
Best of luck,
J., Mom of 3 boys

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