Ask a Dad Question

Rage at Second Baby’s Crying










QUESTION:

I have a 2 year old and a 6 month old. I never felt rage with my first son but with my youngest, when he cries it's like nails on a chalkboard to me. When it starts I get a rage that starts in my gut that feels like anxiety at first. He is a beautiful baby boy and I love him a lot but when I catch myself wanting to yell at a baby and even feeling violent it scares me more than anything. My wife gets mad that I feel this way but I have no idea what to do. Is there any suggestions for how to stop or at least harness this rage so I can enjoy him as much as I did my first?




ANSWER:

Here are some suggestions for you to consider:

  • Show your wife this attempt to get help and tell her you totally understand her getting mad but need her understanding and support to get this handled. You need her to have your back.
  • Ask her to take over with the baby when you first feel the anxiety, so you can leave the scene and learn to calm down before it builds into rage. Use the timeout to think through and get a handle on your feelings; try some exercise to get beyond it.
  • Do something different to handle your baby’s crying. Use headphones by cranking them up, and taking your baby for a walk in the stroller. This is another chance to react with a strategy that calms both you and your baby down.
  • Build your baby calming skill set. Figuring out what your baby's crying triggers and soothing preferences are will boost your confidence and help you feel more in control of the situation.
  • Check out anger management web sites to get insights on what you are experiencing and how to deal with it. This includes humor, and developing relaxation skills such as deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as, "Take it easy." You might also listen to music, write in a journal, or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.”

You already took a big step by reaching out; the next is developing a plan of action when you feel the anxiety and anger rising. You are aware of the dangers of rage; if it develops you need to just walk away from your crying baby, who will be perfectly fine.

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