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Fatherhood/Angry with your child?


Dear Sir,

Could you pls help me with this question?

My wife and I are full-time workers. At the moment, when we go to work, our 3-year-old son goes to a nursery and then stays with the grandmother until we come back.

Recently I found myself stuck with this issue. When I get home, often I feel tired. We would play with the child for a few minutes, then have a meal, then play with him more before he goes to bed at around 8.30pm.

I have this particular problem. Right after I get home, sometimes my child may not listen to me, so I get angry with him, and the evening is ruined.

Is there any tip I should use to avoid this problem?

Thank you

Hey Mike,

It's been a while....about 25 years since my youngest child was three but I certainly know exactly what you are talking about, and both my children were "feisty" and full of energy especially when I was worn out.

Above all, we want our children to grow up into capable adults and parents are the most important factor in making that happen from birth to adult.  Most important, we teach by modeling how we should behave which is something that very young children take time and patience to achieve. You and your wife should be consistent in how you parent.

First of all what helps you relax and get some rest when you get home?  Can your wife give you a bit of time to help you with that or is she in the same position? You could try some relaxation techniques like meditation or other techniques that you can find on the internet which are very helpful and don't take much time.  The important thing is to find someway of getting relaxed and find out what your child does that triggers your anger.  Three year old's are learning that they have some control and test their limits all the time.  Parents may find themselves yelling or spanking in order to have some control but by doing so, often reinforce the behavior that make them angry.  Young children often seek attention by misbehaving or not listening even if that attention is negative.  

Ignore as much of bad behavior as you can, and any movement towards good behavior you have to give positive attention to, that way you shape your child into doing more of what you are reinforcing which is what we want.  You are teaching self control which is what we want to do. Three year old's just don't know what is good and what is bad.

Your ability to model self control and consistent behavior set's the example for your child and believe me,they watch your every move and look that you make. By identifying what makes you angry, you may be able to head him off and distract him before you blow your cool.  Demonstrating a cool and calm demeanor will teach your child to do the things that make that happen.

Another thing you could try is to tell your child that you need a few minutes of "quiet time" and maybe invite him to rest with you.....or not.  Establish a routine that is consistent so he can rely on it.  You could set an egg timer so when it goes off you both know is time to be together in a positive way and that is what you want so make it happen and don't give in to anger.

No silver bullets my friend, just work hard at staying calm and relaxed, maintain consistency with mealtimes, naps, play times and so on so he knows what to expect and when.

My best to you and your family Mike.  I have a good feeling about your efforts simply because you took the time to reach out.  


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Marcos Torres


I can answer many questions regarding child development, best practices in child care and the fathers role in his children's development.


10 years as a child protective services investigator, 10 years administrator of a residential nonprofit program for developmentally disabled adults and children, 2 years working with parents facilitating a parenting group of first time parents with my wife using the MELD curriculum in the early 80's. Co-wrote and Administered a fatherhood grant working with young fathers and incarcerated fathers. Ran a fatherhood program in a Texas State jail and was Director of Incarcerated Programs for the National Fatherhood Initiative for a year and a half. I also raised two children now 22 and 26 who have excelled academically which I believe is from our learning the best practices in child rearing from the start.

BA in Social work in 1980 from New Mexico State University

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