How would you deal with a frustrated mother

Angry Mothers: How Can I Control My Anger?

Mothers are often stressed several times, feel overwhelmed and unsure how to properly raise their child. They feel helpless in arguments with their child and are frustrated about what does not work. And this in turn increases the anger. Anger, which is triggered by excessive demands and insecurity, carries the message: "I try so hard, I don't know why I can't bring up my child the way I would like!"

But anger can also have its cause in dissatisfaction with the life situation. Perhaps after some time a woman has decided to devote a few years to raising and caring for her children. At some point she realizes that she is empty and quickly irritable, that she has to constantly fight her anger. This anger carries the message: "I don't do housework and bringing up children, I need a job outside of the family, so I can't stand it."

In some cases, the anger towards the child also has deep personal reasons. If I perceive traits in my child that I do not accept in myself, or if the child's behavior evokes old behavior patterns from their own upbringing, this can also be an indication that I should seek professional help in dealing with my anger.

Are mothers allowed to be angry with their children?

Anger at one's own child is a taboo in parenting: it is not talked about, it is even kept secret. Many young mothers, whom I have met in my advanced training events, are happy to be able to talk about their anger and to find out that others are no different. Talking about these feelings and mutual understanding help to change your attitude towards your own anger and to deal with it in a more conciliatory manner.

Anger and aggression often arise when mothers are alone with their child for many hours and days and feel increasingly isolated. In such situations you should provide variety, for example contacting other mothers, participating in mother-child groups or meeting up with friends.

If a mother finds that she has persistently aggressive feelings towards her child, there may be underlying causes. Perhaps the mother sees traits or traits in her child that she rejects in herself. In such cases it is necessary and helpful to seek professional help from an educational counseling center or psychotherapeutic practice.

First aid for tantrums

If the mother wants to burst with anger, the counseling center is usually not ready to hand. Many of them lack professional help and competent support. Perhaps it would be useless at this moment too.

In many cases, the following has proven to be helpful:

  • Get out of the room, get some distance: it can be helpful to pack a small child in the stroller and first go around the block together.
  • Throwing soft objects, having a pillow fight.
  • Stand by the open window and consciously breathe in and out. Aggression makes clear thinking difficult, oxygen promotes blood flow to the brain and also the ability to act calmly and deliberately.
  • If there is no other way than to yell at the child: insult the behavior if possible, not the child (not: “You are impossible” but: “What you do is impossible”).
  • If you feel that you want to hit your child, you may be able to prevent it by touching your child. Physical contact can release tension.
  • Most mothers say they hit their child once too. This is certainly not a desired behavior, but it does happen. However, if you find yourself hitting your child frequently, then you should seek parenting advice.
  • After your child has angry, apologize for what you are sorry about as soon as possible, explain again in simple terms what happened and why you got so angry.
  • Don't expect your child to relieve you of your guilty feelings. If you are investigating an incident, it is helpful to discuss it with your partner or a friend.

Anger is a taboo in parenting and mothers often feel guilty when their chops are broken. But anger is also a feeling that can have a liberating effect in many situations. When the anger finally makes me express what has been bothering me for weeks, when the anger helps me to express what I normally don't dare to say, it can be a force that is good for my personal development, even if it may initially trigger fear and incomprehension in the environment.

“I finally got angry” can be a sentence that marks the important personal development step I might never have taken without my anger.


  • Harriet Goldhor Lerner: What to do with my anger? New relationship patterns for women, Frankfurt 2001.
  • Cornelia Nack: When parents get freaked out; The impossibility of always being loving, patient and balanced, Hamburg 2001.


Bettina Hertel is a theologian and psychologist. She worked for mother-child groups and women’s work and has been working in senior work and education at the Evangelical Church in Württemberg since the end of 2012.


Bettina Hertel
LAGES (possibly Seniors in Württemberg),
Evangelical adult and family education in Württemberg EAEW
P.O. Box 10 13 52
70012 Stuttgart
Tel .: 0711-229 363 463


Created on January 29th, 2003, last changed on June 5th, 2013