Parent fury all the rage
'PARENT rage' is tearing families apart, a psychologist has warned. Author and parenting expert Renee Mill says too many parents are venting frustration by screaming at their children and partners.
Ms Mill said such rage had worsened as families put themselves under pressure to 'raise the perfect child'. Ms Mill, who has helped thousands of families since the 1970s, said parents 30 years ago were more relaxed. 'There was much more common sense,' she said. 'I think people were more relaxed with their children.'
These days information overload and general life pressures had led to unrealistic expectations. Some parents were also stressed because they didn't know how to say 'no' to their children, who ran rings around them.
'(They say) I'm so nice I keep saying "yes dear, what would you like?",' Ms Mill said. 'Eventually they can't bear it any more and they just snap.'
Almost all parents Ms Mill sees have an anger problem, which often manifests itself in screaming matches which are bad for children and the parents' relationship.
'It's more ranting and raving,' she said. 'It's more yelling . . . chronic bickering, put downs, irritability, not enjoying having the children around. Parents are chronically irritated.'
Ms Hill, who is based in Sydney but has run seminars in Melbourne, said more studies were finding children overanxious, depressed and 'feeling quite fragile'. She said this was partly due to anger directed at them by parents who mistook their developmentally normal behaviour as a personal insult. For example, it was normal for two-year-olds to be stubborn, 12-year-olds to be messy and teenagers to be disrespectful.
Ms Mill urges parents to depersonalise behaviour which is normal for a child's age, and to remember the child is not doing it to ruin your day.