When our children express anger toward us, they are expressing a need that is being unfulfilled. Kids don’t like to be angry. However, when they are shouting that they hate you, or are purposefully disobeying, they are most likely attempting to express a complicated emotion that they are not equipped to express just yet. Sometimes their anger can be a red flag, or sometimes it is indicating that want your undivided attention.
Jealousy Over the New Baby
Many children get jealous of all of the attention new babies receive in the family. Children that just got a new sibling frequently feel ignored. Of course, you aren’t ignoring them. But you, as the adult, know that. It doesn’t feel that way to kids.
The first step in healing this process is to try and empathize with your child. Step one, understand their little brains aren’t developed enough to empathize with you and your struggle to adjust to being a new parent. Step two, understand this bad behavior, this lashing out, is their way of getting your attention. They are rebelling against the change in their lives the only way they know how. Step three, you need to make a concrete plan to make your child feel helpful, special, and, most of all, wanted. Every day there needs to be several moments when your child does something with you or your partner that the baby cannot do. It doesn’t have to be big. For instance, your child can help you sort the laundry, but it needs to be a regular thing in their lives. You need to follow through.
They are Mad you Went Back to Work
Children generally don’t understand the principals of feminism, or why you would go back to work. They aren’t adults yet, and while going back to work is definitely ok, all your child sees is that there is less time for you to be together. So what can a working parent do? Well, books have been written on the subject. My best advice is to make and keep to a bedtime routine and try every day to have one on one time. On the weekends be sure you get some quality time as well.
Sometimes a child’s anger towards you is a hint that something is not quite right. It is not normal for a child to be constantly aggressive towards their parents and other people they come across (grandparents, strangers, peers, etc.). This is a behavior that you should alert your doctor to in order to get your child the help they need.
Furthermore, excessive anger plus other age-inappropriate behaviors might signal that someone is harming your child. Consult a specialist immediately.
In the end, it is generally normal for your child to be angry with you from time to time. (Just wait until their teen years.) All we can do as parents is to approach the situation with empathy, understanding, and love.