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I’m a psychotherapist and here are the 6 biggest triggers for ‘mom tantrums’ from running away at school to arguments and meal battles

MATERNAL anger is real – and has never been more prevalent after lockdowns, working from home and homeschooling have put parents on the brink.

Unspeakable tantrums arise in times of extreme stress, but many mothers are embarrassed to admit their child sparked the tantrum.

Cristalle Hayes says: 'Many moms feel a mother's tantrum but no one likes to talk about it'

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Cristalle Hayes says: ‘Many moms feel a mother’s tantrum but no one likes to talk about it’

Psychotherapist Cristalle Hayes, author of Angry Mother, Assertive Mother, says: “Many mothers feel a mother’s rage, but no one likes to talk about it.

“Mothers are not allowed to be angry and when they do, they often feel embarrassed.

“However, all mothers experience moments of anger, which leave them feeling overwhelmed, unsupported and exhausted.”

Half termwhen parents often have to deal with the job of leaving their children at home full time, that can be a trigger.

Cristalle adds: “Mothers are under a lot of stress with so many things to do, they don’t get enough sleep and many lack the right support.

“Children have a hard time pushing boundaries too, and they need us a lot. All these things can lead to flare-ups.”


The six biggest causes of tantrums – from your belongings to mealtime

CRISTALLE, who is also a mother of two, told Claire Dunwell the six biggest triggers for “mom tantrums”. . .

Bedtime: Procrastination tactics, such as asking for drinks and bedtime stories, can both make parents grateful.

We reveal the six biggest triggers for 'mom tantrums'

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We reveal the six biggest triggers for ‘mom tantrums’Credit: Getty

After bed is the time for parents to rest and reset for the next day, so when children encroach on this precious time it can cause friction.

To avoid a bedtime loss, never start a routine of showering, going to bed, or telling stories when you’re hungry, thirsty, or tired.

Parenting is a marathon, so pace yourself through the day and give yourself some time to reset right before bed. That way, you have enough energy for that final leg.

Siblings fighting: Verbal and physical fights between siblings can be a huge cause for parents who want their kids to be best friends.

Remind yourself that siblings who disagree are really setting boundaries for each other that they will use when navigating their lives.

Only enter when there is a risk of harm but try not to match the energy in the room.

Diffuse the situation by speaking slowly and quietly and talking about boundaries.

Feeling overloaded: Walking into a messy room, hearing the TV, kids asking for snacks, and the beeping of the washing machine can all trigger a parent’s tantrum.

Clutter and too much noise make parents feel anxious and out of control.

Instead of dealing with the entire house and risk feeling overwhelmed, try to make a room a quiet and organized space to enter when it all starts to feel too much.

Lower your expectations and break down your work into achievable tasks.

Run field: There are similarities between school run rage and road rage.

While you don’t want to be late, you’re not entirely in control as there are factors like traffic, how well the kids are playing, and whether your newborn needs a last-minute diaper change. This is all stress.

To avoid losing your temper, spend a lot of time in the morning, playing relaxing music in the car and taking the pressure off – you can just do your best.

Used Time: There is mixed information about how much screen time children should allow.

For parents, it’s confusing territory – and one that causes friction.

Children’s refusal to turn off their phones during mealtime and banning technology from the dinner table can trigger a power struggle.

The key here is consistency and setting boundaries in advance with the consequences if the kids don’t obey.

Meal times: Food can easily become a battleground for children, especially for mothers who want their children to eat a healthy diet.

It could escalate beyond food and into a war for power.

To avoid losing your temper, recall your childhood experience of mealtime – what you liked or disliked as a child.

Get support from your partner. Also, some children eat better around grandparents, so make eating a social event by all sitting around the table during mealtime.

The calmer you appear to be while having consistent boundaries, the less stubborn your child will be.


Take this quiz to see where you sit on rage meter. . . then read Cristalle’s advice once you’ve put together your As, Bs and Cs.


1. When was the last time you woke up feeling refreshed?

a) I always feel fine. I don’t let interrupted sleep bother me.
b) In the last week. The kids wake me up from time to time.
c) Never. I’m a walking zombie most days.

2. Your child refuses to eat their usual favorite dinner. You . . .

a) Laugh and make them a meal replacement.
b) Don’t force things but try into it until they have a few bits.
c) Put them all in the bin and let them starve.

3. It’s lunchtime and your teen is still in bed. You . . .

a) Leave them to it. It’s just the body’s natural clock at that age.
b) Have them count down again and again until you finally go in and open the curtain.
c) Vacuum, play music and get as loud as possible until they stand up.

4. It’s bedtime and your baby wants another story and more milk. You feel . . .

a) Warm inside. The moments before bed are precious.
b) It’s a bit annoying that there are 15 minutes left until “me” time.
c) It is smoking. This is your time and you feel robbed of it.

5. After losing your temper with the kids, you. . .

a) I don’t know. I never did.
b) Feeling guilty and immediately wanting to apologize.
c) Had some guilt but took hours to calm down.

6. After a stressful time with the kids, you and your partner. . .

a) Aloof because you are only focused on making the kids happy.
b) Work together to find a way forward, together.
c) Debate. You take the stress off them and vice versa.

7. In general, your kids. . .

a) Taking advantage of you.
b) Respect you.
c) Walk on eggshells around you.

8. The house is tipping, but it’s all a mess of the kids. You . . .

a) Clear it up immediately while your child plays video games.
b) Tried to get the kids to clean up but ended up doing most of it.
c) Shout at them and strike.

9. A parent posts an emotional post on Facebook about their child. You . . .

a) “Like” the post and comment with a love heart emoji.
b) Move over it. You don’t pay much attention to what other families are doing.
c) Roll your eyes and hide future posts from that “friend”.


Mostly

CRISTALLE SAYS: Children need boundaries, but you’re a mother who avoids conflict at all costs and you’re slowly leaving your role as a parent.

You’re in friendship territory with your kids because you fear confrontation and self-blame if they step out of position.

Cristalle says: 'You can use it to be clear about limitations, and modeling anger in this way can be a valuable lesson for children'

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Cristalle says: ‘You can use it to be clear about limitations, and modeling anger in this way can be a valuable lesson for children’Credit: Getty

Whether it’s practicing discipline during mealtime or keeping them safe, you have to step in and get angry to set some boundaries for them.

Accept that it is okay to be angry.

Assertiveness and compassion is asking for behavior you like and saying no to what you don’t.

Anger is not about punishing your child or blaming them.

You can use it to articulate limitations, and modeling anger in this way can be a valuable lesson for children.

Mostly Bs

CRISTALLE SAYS: You’re in a great parenting position, always having a balance between boundaries and discipline.

That means you know how to stay calm.

Cristalle says: 'Learning when your anger can be helpful in a situation and when you need to calm down is essential, so keep working on it'

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Cristalle says: ‘Learning when your anger can be helpful in a situation and when you need to calm down is essential, so keep working on it’Credit: Getty

However, choose battles carefully as your occasional rages take you down a slippery slope.

Do the things that make you angry really warrant that response? It is important to check.

Your child’s arguments incite you, but when a situation calls for resoluteness, such as concern for your child’s safety, you don’t use it.

Don’t be complacent.

Learning when your anger can be helpful in a situation and when you need to calm down is essential, so keep trying.

Mainly Cs

CRISTALLE SAYS: You’re in survival mode, feeling constantly triggered by the kids.

It feels like you’re under attack and just getting through a day is a battle.

Cristalle says: 'Rage is a response to stress and burnout, so address the triggers and you're halfway there'

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Cristalle says: ‘Rage is a response to stress and burnout, so address the triggers and you’re halfway there’Credit: Getty

You don’t sleep, eat well, or make time for yourself.

Take a step back and remind yourself of good times with the kids. Look at the fun pictures.

Urgent changes are needed, such as asking a partner or family member for extra support.

Otherwise, your relationship with your child is at risk.

Parents, set an example of how to deal with stressful situations and it’s not too late for you.

Rage is a response to stress and burnout, so address the triggers and you’re halfway there.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/17725167/six-triggers-mum-rage/ I’m a psychotherapist and here are the 6 biggest triggers for ‘mom tantrums’ from running away at school to arguments and meal battles

Dais Johnston

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