Why do I snap at my little boy?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

YES I NEED HELP AND I DONT REALLY KNOW WHAT KIND I NEED OR WHAT COULD EVEN BE CAUSEING MY PROBLEMS. I HAVE A 4 YEAR OLD SON WHO I LOVE MORE THEN ANYONE IN THIS WORLD. HE CHANGED MY LIFE FOR THE BETTER SO MUCH WHEN I HAD HIM AND I HAVE BABIED HIM SO MUCH. IT SEEMS LIKE SOME TIMES I CAN BE SO SWEET AND NICE TO HIM AND THEN SOMETIMES HE CAN ASK ME A SIMPLE QUESTION AND I WILL SNAP AT HIM AND TELL HIM TO LEAVE ME ALONE AND GO TO HIS ROOM AND I KNOW THAT I HAVE HURT HIS FEELINGS AND I FEEL LIKE THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD WHEN I DO THIS AND I HAVE TRIED TO STOP BUT IM NOT REALLY SURE HOW. I DONT KNOW IF I HAVE SOME KIND OF MENTAL CONDITION OR NOT. I DONT HIT MY SON AND I COULD NEVER DO THAT BUT I FEEL LIKE SOMETIMES I YELL AT HIM SO BAD THAT HE FEELS LIKE IM HITTING HIM AND THAT HE WILL ONE DAY GROW TO HATE ME.

IM SO CONFUSED ON WHY I DO THIS. IM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO WORRY ABOUT EVERYTHING AND HAVE ALOT OF STRESS THAT I DONT THINK A 24 YEAR OLD WOMAN SHOULD HAVE. WHEN I WAS GROWING UP I DID HAVE MY PARENTS YELLING AT ME FOR SOME REASON AND I WOULDNT TO NEVER DO THAT TO MY KIDS. I HAVE COME TO RELIZE THAT IM JUST LIKE MY MOTHER I HAVE STRESS ISSUES AND NERVES ISSUES AND I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO. COULD YOU PLEASE HELP ME OUT IM BEGGING IM SO TIRED OF YELLING AT MY POOR INSENT CHILD THAT I LOVE SO DEARLY??? THANKS!

A: First of all, you are not just like your mother. You are asking for some help. Your mother never did. Give yourself some credit and a big pat on the back for that. You had a poor role model for how to be a parent so you don’t have many skills for dealing with the usual stresses of parenting. Small children aren’t always wonderful. Small children get into things, get cranky at times, want every bit of attention they can get, and don’t always mind their parents. They are also loving, cute, amazing, and profound. You can’t have one without the other.

You clearly love your little boy. Now you need to learn some parenting skills to bring out the best in you both. I suggest that you ask your pediatrician for a referral to a parent education class or a local Parents Anonymous support group. These classes/support groups are usually run by parent volunteers for other parents. You will learn some better ways to handle your son when he is being difficult and you will have the companionship and support of other parents who are, like you, trying to be the best parents they can be.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Dec 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). Why do I snap at my little boy?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/12/13/why-do-i-snap-at-my-little-boy/