7 Ways We Trigger Our Child’s Anger Without Knowing

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Written By Olivia Miller

Author at Montessori Expert.

“I hate you!”

Those three little words can pierce right through the heart.

The sting of a child’s angry outburst can leave us feeling lost and questioning our parenting skills.

But what if their rage is a cry for understanding, a sign we’ve unknowingly pushed a button?

In this article you’ll find 7 surprising ways we might be pushing those little buttons that trigger child’s anger and frustration.

7 Ways We Trigger Our Child’s Anger Without Knowing 

1. Dismissal of Feelings:

Ever told your child, “Stop crying, it’s not a big deal”? That’s a big no-no. When we brush off their emotions, it can make them feel invalidated and escalate their frustration.

Remember, their feelings are valid, even if they seem trivial to us.

For example:

Your child is upset because their favorite toy broke, and you say, “It’s just a toy, don’t cry.”

2. A Harsh Tone:

a little person is standing in front of another person with their hands on their back

Our tone of voice carries more weight than we realize. Using a harsh or critical tone can hurt our child’s feelings and trigger their anger.

Instead, strive to communicate with kindness and respect, even when addressing challenging behavior.

For instance:

You snap at your child for spilling their drink instead of calmly addressing the accident.

Or You use sarcasm or belittling language when your child makes a mistake.

3. Asking Them Questions When They Just Need Direction:

Sometimes, our children just need clear direction rather than a barrage of questions.

Asking too many questions can overwhelm them and lead to frustration. Keep instructions simple and straightforward.

Consider this:

Instead of asking, “Why did you do that?” when your child misbehaves, provide clear guidance on what they should do next.

4. Ignoring Their Boundaries:

Respecting your child’s boundaries is crucial for building trust and fostering a healthy relationship. 

When we ignore their boundaries, whether physical or emotional, it can trigger feelings of anger and resentment.

Consider this scenario:

Your child asks for alone time to read a book, and you keep interrupting them to ask questions or play.

5. Choosing Sides During Sibling Disagreements:

a little sitting on the floor with bunny ears

Sibling squabbles are a normal part of family life, but taking sides can escalate tensions and fuel anger.

Instead, strive to remain neutral and help your children resolve conflicts peacefully. Encourage empathy and understanding between siblings.

For example:

Intervening in a sibling argument by automatically siding with one child without hearing both sides of the story.

6. Ignoring Their Heart and focusing just on Their Behavior:

Sometimes, our focus on correcting behavior overshadows the emotions driving it. Ignoring the underlying feelings can lead to resentment and anger.

Take the time to understand your child’s emotions and validate their experiences.

For example:

Reacting to a tantrum by solely addressing the behavior without acknowledging the underlying frustration or upset.

Brushing off your child’s tears as “crocodile tears” instead of empathizing with their feelings.

7. Overloading with Instructions:

Giving your child too many instructions at once can overwhelm them and lead to frustration.

Keep it simple and break tasks into manageable steps. Be patient and offer guidance as needed.

For example:

You bombard your child with a long list of chores as soon as they walk in the door from school.

Avoid phrases like, “I already told you what to do.” Instead, offer gentle reminders.

8. Comparisons with Siblings or Peers:

a little person with curly hair looking at the camera

Comparing your child to their siblings or friends can breed resentment and fuel their anger.

Each child is unique, so avoid phrases like, “Why can’t you be more like your sister?”

Embrace their individuality and celebrate their strengths. Read out post on how to stop sibling rivalry here.

For example:

Your child struggles with math, and you say, “Why can’t you be as good as your friend Sarah?”


We’re all figuring it out as we go, making mistakes, and learning along the way.

So, take a deep breath, give yourself some grace, and know that even on the toughest days, you’re doing an incredible job.

As we wrap up, keep those seven sneaky triggers in mind, but also remember the power you have to turn them around.

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