Children are not like adults. They don't see the grey areas. They don't understand that you are not angry with them. They don't understand that there are different situations in life that control the way we think. Children see what's in front of them. Therefore, if you are angry, all they know is that you are angry.
One of things that parents don't realize about themselves, is that many times, they tend to unidentify with their anger when speaking with their children; therefore, taking their anger out on them. We as parents don't often recognize how we negatively affect our children when we are angry. As a mother of 2 daughters (8 and 14), I've learned in my later 30's that I have to acknowledge when I am angry about a certain situation and discuss it with my daughters. I immediately inform them that Mommy is upset and she is in no way upset with them. Because my daughters are a little older, they understand how to handle mom being upset; however, this does not mean that they accept it. It takes a lot of patience to control anger and even more patience to control your anger when children are involved.
Knowing and understanding that you are the very first role model that your children will come in contact with is one very important factor to always remember as a parent. Anger, abuse, abusive language, and physical violence are all learned behaviors. No one's born with these characteristics. Children are very observant. They watch all. They see all. They hear all. For example, if you yell and scream NO to your children every time you are angry, be prepared to see these same behaviors as your child develops throughout life. Not only does this affect their social skills (school, friends, interactions with strangers), their emotional skills are also being scarred. Self esteem will also lack due the consistent rejection from the one person who should love them the most, their parent.
So parents, be aware of your anger when you are around your children. We are all human. We all get angry. We all get upset. But they way you handle your anger will help define the child you raise.