Family Therapist Tells Mommyish That Parents Should Throw Their Own Temper Tantrums To Deal With Anger

angry womanJude Bijou is a respected psychotherapist with an MA, an MFT, and multiple published self-help books. And she thinks you need to start taking behavior advice from your toddler. Nope, I’m not kidding.

In an interview that launched a Mommyish Debate before it ever happened, I sat down with Jude to talk about anger, coping mechanisms, and how parents can learn to process their emotions with their children. And I was a little shocked when she told me that us parents need to “take a page from your kid’s playbook.” That’s right, Moms. She wants you to start throwing your own temper tantrums.

“Kids, they have a meltdown, a temper tantrum. But then they get over it. That’s what we need to do as adults.” I was a little surprised to hear someone say that my 5-year-old might be handling her anger better than I was. But Jude explained, “We try to take a deep breath or count to ten, but we really need to do is handle all of that energy.”

According to Jude, anger creates a negative energy inside of us and we need to find a way to release it. The best way to do that? Constructive, safe physical exertion. “Stomping, pushing against the wall, pound the pillow, grimaces, yelling…” All of it counts and all of it may help parents get rid of their negative energy and return to a more balanced mindset before they handle whatever issue they’re having with their child.

So what would this type of coping mechanism look like? Let’s lay it out.

You’ve had an insanely long day. You’re tired and stressed and you have a million things to do before you can fall asleep tonight. You’re standing in the kitchen, preparing dinner, when little Susie starts whining that she wants a cookie. “Pleeeeeeeease Mom,” she begs as she pulls at your leg. The first couple of times, you simply tell her, “No.” But now, you’re starting to get frustrated. You’re about to snap, “You should know by now that you cannot have a snack before dinner!”

Instead, you look down at Susie and say, “Mommy is a little frustrated right now. I need a minute. Can you wait in your bedroom and we’ll talk about it.” Then, you proceed to punch your bedroom pillow and you’ve worked up a sweat and you don’t feel like a ticking time bomb. Now, you’re ready to deal with your little one and her request calmly. 

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  • Paul White

    I have a hard time buying this.
    One of the tenants of training people in anything (mental or physical) is that you practice the skill you’re trying to develop. If you want to get good at meditation, meditate. If you want to get good and the squat, squat. If you want to get good at math, do math. I can’t see letting yourself freely and loudly and angrily express your anger as being good for controlling your temper.

  • Daisy

    It drives me absolutely nuts when my parents lose their tempers (a pretty frequent occurrence), and I am left sitting quietly and staring at them in disbelief. Sometimes I try to talk them down, or point out that their behaviour is inappropriate, but that usually just makes them madder. (My mom’s favourite line to use on me is, “You’re not my mother! Stop telling me what to do!” And not in a funny, sarcastic way.) But if I just sit and wait it out, they scream that I have an attitude problem. There is absolutely no way for me to win, and it’s disgusting and immature, especially when they do it in front of our friends. I used to scream back, but I pretty much outgrew that around grade 10 or 11, and it’s high time they did too. So I give a big, fat NO to the idea of parents throwing tantrums.

    (Side note: I know everyone gets a little frustrated sometimes and loses their temper when they shouldn’t. I’m not talking about the once-in-a-while bad day where you feel really bad after and realize you overreacted. I’m talking about grown-ass adults acting like kindergarteners on a regular basis. Not okay.)

    • Paul White

      I’m not even sure shouting at your child is always inappropriate, or that yelling at them is always bad (hell I’ve only been a parent a few months). I know sometimes Mom yelling our full given name really loud did the trick if my brother and I were acting up, or sometimes just mimicking how ridiculous we sounded would work. But it’s just…encouraging tantrums in parents??? Really? Even if you send the kid away first that’s all sorts of wrong.

  • Wif

    I was very happy to this. I am a stay at home mom of two under 6. My hubby and I have our own business (which has its own stresses.) a large portion of most everything falls on my plate as with our business my hubby is the $$$ if he is not there we have no paying clients, he is also a pro Athlete. Which means when he is not working he is training. So again most everything is left to me. I also have so health problems right now I’m waiting for surgery. I have little time for hobbies, friends or my self. I have lost my cool a couple times most recently and this made me feel normal.

    Don’t be so quick to judge others. If most other people walked a week in my shoes they would be curled up in the fetal potions crying for someone to save them.

    I am very happy with but it is not easy being a center of so much for Everyone else and putting your self last.