Parenting help - anger management

I am looking for a local group/therapist to help me build some anger management tools. I am having trouble managing my own flight or fight responses when I am triggered, and as a result my patience snaps and I blow up unexpectedly... suddenly displaying intense anger (not physically violent) toward my preschooler. My heart aches for my kid imagining the experience of having a parent, who is your world, suddenly furious with you. I see my child becoming sad and withdrawing from me - and articulating a desire for space because of my anger. And, I know, my kiddo is pretty darn easy as kids go, which makes me feel even worse. I am an over-stretched, over-worked, over-whelmed parent with my own baggage, and I am I failing at my job of protecting and building my child's self-esteem, keeping shame at bay, and modeling love, kindness, and self-control.

Thank you for your recommendations.

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Highly recommend Yvonne Mansell in Albany (I found her through BPN recommendations). She has an anger management series for parents, separated into classes for  moms and dads. I took one before my child was born because I was raised in a very angry environment and didn't want to channel that to my newborn.

An alternative to anger management would be to find a therapist that will help you process your anger and get to the root of it. I saw a wonderful somatic therapist (Natashia Fuksman) in South Berkeley and she helped me process difficult emotions while I was with her (not anger per se, but she is very non-judgmental and I'm sure she would be open to working with someone on anger). I highly recommend her if you live in the area.


my heart goes out to you and your child.  
you might try looking for therapists that use a form of PCIT therapy. Or look up the techniques.   Please Don’t be scared off that it refers to the success with abused kids. That was where the first research was done.  
the idea is rebuilding positive interactions with your child. (Not just controlling yourself which is helpful but thus tries to help both).   They take the view that more positive interactions help the overall relationship.  
The core is - take 5 minutes a day to have fun and just observes and praise your child for something specific. Phones off. No questions.  Just statements like I like how you’re building  the block so tall”.  The idea is that increasing positive interactions is an important recovery for both parent and child. 
Second resource. The Yale Parenting Canter. They have great articles about changing behavior in kids and yourself.  Their view is that just telling your kid to do x doesn’t help. Because when that doesn’t work, parents yell.  Ultimately you will want a roadmap for how change behaviors that works.  They have lighthearted articles.  And a technique Vs. “Just try harder not to be mad”.  The idea is that you preview with your child and give abundant praise for the antecedents to the behavior.   
The doctor says that information doesn’t help - just ask anyone who has tried to quit smoking. 
I hope this helps. 

I'm sorry I can't help with a recommendation but just want to say that you are awesome for recognizing this and trying to course correct. I hope you find a great resource. <3

I had similar situation when my kids were little.  I got a new perspective on my own baggage and really helpful anger management tools from Yvonne Mansell in a supportive and affordable small group workshop.  Now my kids are teen/tweens and I still use the things I learned with Yvonne!  

Bravo to you for asking. I don't have any recommendations for a group or therapist, but I have felt frustrated and disappointed in my parenting, too. You're on the right track and I am in awe of your awareness. Good luck.

Check out the Anger Management Workbook for Women or Men - 2 different books, as the case may be. A local publisher here in Berkeley/Emeryville I work at publishes it - Callisto Media, under Rockridge Press. If cost is an issue, let me know and I will take care of it for you.

How self-aware you are to recognize this. How brave you are to reach out for support! Speaking from personal experience, although I waited until my kids were older to recognize and address this in myself, a good therapist is essential. I wish I could recommend a good one in the East Bay.

I want to respond despite not having a recommendation for a therapist, as I want to share that a mindfulness based yoga practice has also been very helpful to me, in managing my emotions over time, even after I no longer feel the need for regular therapy (cost became an issue). It's important to find a teacher who is well versed in yogic philosophy in addition to the physical practice.

Some medical groups and health care clinics run mindfulness training programs lasting 6-8 weeks or so. While I have not attended one myself, my primary care doctor is a big proponent. If you're not interested in yoga, or are unable to find a mindfulness based teacher in your area, you might consider looking into a mindfulness training program, my understanding is that they are all about tool acquisition which would be complementary to group or individual therapy.

Good luck to you, and remember to breathe!

I’ve been there and many other mamas have as well. You are doing the right thing to find support. I highly recommend Yvonne Mansell and her Anger and Stress Management mom’s group. ( It is a 10 (or so) session group meeting once a week and exploring such things as what causes anger, what are your triggers, how to reduce stress, effective parenting, and even modeling anger management for your kids. It was a game changer for me. You can do this!!!

Oakland DBT and Mindfulness Center (therapists).

I can relate. It’s ok and here you are trying to make it better. Have you tried meditation. That helps me quite a bit! The 10% happier app or Headspace is a good start because a little goes a long and you can still do it everyday. Therapy and having family or some kind of support from a partner is very important to helping ease the anger and give you a break. I just moved to the area but I’ve found therapy and meditation and lots of kindness to myself including daily love for myself is the surest way to transform anger.

Parenting is hard! It’s great that you are reaching out for help and have empathy for your little one. One resource to consider is the 24 hour parent support hotline at family paths: 800-829-3777.

They also have parenting classes, parenting tips, Info about self care and stress management.

Another organization that is super helpful is hand in hand.  To repair after a hard time, they recommend having special time with your little one that involves your undivided attention for a set amount of time (20-30 minutes) During which they lead and you follow With love, praise and admiration. This will be easier to do after taking care of your own needs. It is super helpful and indeed it does become a special time. Hang in there. We’ve all been there!

I am going to go with the response I hated the most...ever: “go the self love route.” What does that even mean? Give yourself space. How? 10 mins every night, go to Instagram, DON’T scroll just go straight to the the.holistic.psychologist - Dr Nicole LePera. Start going through her posts. I think it’s some of the best self care you can do. And if you’re not on Instagram, you can sign up as anyone..your favorite ice cream, a cat....whatever. Just don’t scroll. Instagram can make the world angry and it’s easy to get sucked into that side. Start here, then focus on one goal you want to obtain per week. I want to get 10% better at listening to my toddler. At the end of the week, assess yourself. One that I did was, “I will bite my tongue, literally, when my kids argue.” It took practice, it finally worked and they didn’t rely on me to intervene. Small changes. 

From there, a therapist can be integrated, should you desire. 

Make small changes so you can get sleep. I wish I could write a book about how sleep has changed my life, my mood, my health and interactions with my three children.

You are so not alone. I would hug you for recognizing this and admitting this to yourself. This child rearing gig is not for the faint of hear. I can tell you, some moms (dads) make it look easy, but you never know the backstory. 

It takes a village and space to re-parent. 

I recommend this amazing book, it has really helped me to connect the dots on triggers & to pinpoint the sources of my baffling, automatic reactions & to develop self-compassion in attempting to change them..
The deep insights gained have transformed all of my relationships because my relationship to my self has changed.

Amazon has this,

"Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors" by Janina Fisher

Also, the seminal work of Dr. Stephen Porges on Polyvagal Theory & self-regulation explains in clear language why we react in ways that undermine closeness.

Check out his interviews on YouTube
Calmer parent

Hello, I read your post and wanted to thank you for sharing.  I was going to respond then when I scrolled down I saw similar things in the past threads, great suggestions in there.  I would say, as someone who had a bad temper (not hitting but yelling/shaming) and  is still overstretched that though it took time and work things are different.  I was not taught to self regulate as a child and though it is painful to see its effects, it is also what will bring about the solution.  There is no better key to self-transformation than parenting and the love you have for your child.  You have to trust that this will be good for both of you as you learn and try.  I told my child that I have never been a parent, I am learning and trying my best.  I would apologize for when I did loose it, say I was wrong and tell them that tomorrow I will do better.  And, I meant it.  I no longer scream though I do definitely get very frustrated and will say things I regret.  I am not, however, acting out of memory from what my parents did so that for me is an incredible win and I am still working on improving. At this point there are long histories of physical and emotional abuse that run through some families with zero coping skills, see it as an opportunity to honor your family line and do better and heal yourself, your child and honor all of them in the process.   I do not have a lot of time or resources but there are tools that are free or very cheap that have helped me.  The antidepressant route did not work for me but may work for you. Acupuncture is one that is very helpful (you can do the community one that is cheap) and I was going to Adult children of Alcoholic meetings because there are tools in the 12 step program that are very useful and its free and a weekly place to go and be with people and share.  Walking or any form of exercise or time in nature, even a short one is helpful.  Reward yourself when you catch yourself, even if it is a smile.  I do have time while driving to listen to audiobooks on anger and conscious parenting and Belleruth Naparstek has these wonderful downloadable affirmations on anger and forgiveness that overtime do help.  I lost a lot of sleep over feeling guilt because I wanted to be the perfect loving parent and was feeling like I was failing miserably and did see withdrawal from my child which I see hurts you as much as it hurt me.  A little remorse is healthy and promotes change, just be careful as I went on a pity spiral that made everything worse and the loss of sleep from it didn't help either.   I have a very stressful relationship with the other parent and I noticed when I was thinking about them, something that happened or my child was sharing something they did that it was a trigger time.  It would build from there as my mind went through a growing list of "wrongs" from the other parent.   Find out if you have a trigger that starts the build, learn to stop it and be present.  Its all about using your will power and retraining.   I am still struggling with a lot on my plate but I have begun taking my power back. When you loose it you are feeling powerless.  By shifting my perception, its a lot of work and sometimes I fall back but every time I get back up I am stronger than I was before. Keep up with the positive things you do with your child. You can do it. 

Yvonne Mansell is a therapist in Albany who conducts group therapy sessions for parents regarding anger and stress management. I recommend getting in touch with her

The sessions are a mix of didactic information about anger and stress, and personal time for sharing and processing. I found it to be very helpful. 

I can relate to your experience and I would highly recommend Rachel Jenkins-Stevens as a therapist. She is incredibly warm and non-judgmental and I have talked with her at length about my own anger issues as well as many other aspects of parenting. She’s very knowledgeable about child development and has been great at helping me think about how to best parent my two children. She has also been able to help me think about how my individual baggage affects my parenting. Rachel moves very adeptly between parenting and a focus on you as an individual. Her office is in the Pill Hill neighborhood of Oakland and her number is 510-779-2670. 

Hi mama. I’m there with you. The book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids had many insights and passages that resonated with me. I listened to it on audible. 

Hi there,

You are truly amazing for seeking help!! I totally know what you mean and am in the same boat. I’ve recently been overworked, overwhelmed & stressed with life... and did 2 things that have changed me. 1. Quit my second job (major source of overwhelm and stress), and started working with a therapist. On the side, I also listen to the podcast unruffled on the way to work to help raise my awareness around positive parenting & discipline. But the main thing I’ve taken from seeing a therapist (since July now)... I’ve become aware of the anger issues I have that directly relate to my own childhood & the anger I’ve been holding since I was 3.5. Raising our own children have a way of unleashing unexpressed childhood emotions.  We’re in the process of making changes... and I’m not perfect. I still have angry spells, but now more manageable, are less in frequency. 

If you’re interested in working with a therapist, I highly recommend Melody Wright she has an office in Berkeley and in Richmond hilltop. I literally go in there once a week, speak, get my feelings out... and with her listening & asking relevant questions, I am able to pinpoint important patterns that were programmed within me as a child. I’m working on it and feel incredibly hopeful that I can be the Mom I want to be. 

I know you can too... ♥️