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My Three Year Old Is On The Receiving End Of My Anger

by Mom of 1

I have been searching on the Internet for different methods, advice, etc on how to help myself with my anger issues. I cannot say I know where it stems from but I'm sure if I really looked I could find where.

All I know is I need some help.

I have a great 3.5 year old daughter. No tantrums, no out of control behaviors, etc. Just really sweet, fun, silly and innocent. Unfortunately I know I am doing damage to her and her self esteem.


I get angry over the littlest things with her. For instance, this evening she was hungry right around bed time. I gave her food and sat at the dining table while she ate. I was on my computer. At first she was eating and kind of playing, talking to some characters she knows from a show she watches. I thought it was cute.

Then I started to notice the time. It was getting late. But I let her continue, I even played along with her for a little. Then when I realized it was almost an hour past her bed time I started to feel myself get angry over her still eating. She hadn't even gotten to the dessert.

So I sternly advised her to stop playing and finish eating, it was getting late. Which she did but I heard the tremble in her voice. However, I still felt myself getting anxious about it. And when it was finally 1 hour after her bed time I abruptly got up and asked her if she was done. But I didn't really ask, more like told her she was done.

Which she was, but still had her dessert to eat. So as she ate her dessert I got her milk ready for her. But by this point I was boiling inside. But I was boiling more because now I became angry with myself for my reaction. But that didn't stop my behavior.

She drank her milk and I told her I would meet her at her bed to tuck her in. I did just that but I didn't read her a bedtime story, which we always do!

This is one of many other incidents like it. So little but I make it so big. And now, from the moment I gave her her kiss and turned off the light I have felt completely guilty and so angry with myself for my behavior. I want to just scoop her up and put her in bed with me because I feel that I was so mean to her over nothing!

It's obviously my own issues but I don't know how to separate the two and so I take it out on her if she does the slightest thing to annoy me. And although I know this, that this is the usual pattern, when I feel myself getting angry I cannot control myself.

I cannot stop myself from reacting in an unloving way to her for something so dumb. And it breaks my heart every time it happens because I am so afraid that I am ruining her self esteem and other things about her.

I want so much to raise a completely lovable person and I feel like I am failing every time something like this happens. I truly need something to help me pick up on the cues and help me stop myself/ change my reactions!



Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell that you really love your daughter, and I can also tell that you're a very good person who wants to be the best mom you can be. That is excellent, and I will try to help.

You sound very intelligent, and I think if you follow my recommendations you will get some good results.

I suggest that you start by following all of the guidance on this FAQ page. These tools are powerful and effective, if you use them often and consistently enough to become skilled in their use. As you know, your daughter is precious and innocent, and your anger has nothing to do with her. These processes will help you find the origins of your anger and heal it at the core.

In addition to the above, I strongly encourage you to use this two part imagery process to mentally rehearse your time with your daughter. Your intentions are the best, as you point out. This will help you to strengthen and ground your intentions, and make it much more likely that you will successfully follow through. I suggest that you do this first thing every morning, and until things start to improve, repeat it every four hours during the day.

This gives you a way to heal your anger and the underlying issues, and it also gives you a way to strengthen your resolve to be the loving, kind mother you truly are and want to be.

You can do this, and something tells me you will. Believe in yourself and the good person that you truly are.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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