Parenting Toolbox: What to Do with Anger by Lynn of Perspective Parenting
~:: Lynn from Perspective Parenting ::~
Do you ever yell at your kids? I mean really, YELL?
If yes, welcome to the club.
Most parents at one time or another hit the point of frustration and let the words come flying out at loud decibels that even make our pets jump to attention. I know for me, when I reach this point, I have already exhausted the multiple calm requests for change, which have all been seemingly ignored. And then when I hear my kids yell at each other, I am frustrated and disappointed with their response. And so the cycle is born.
In my house, when my kids have angry outbursts that make me uncomfortable, you will often hear me say, “It’s okay to be angry, but its not okay to respond that way.” House rule. They never like this rule, but they respect it and are typically sent to their room to calm down so they can regroup and try again.
It’s important for us and our kids to express our anger. It’s a normal reaction to our frustration and appropriate to feel, but how we choose to communicate it greatly impacts if we get the outcome we want or if we just create more anger within ourselves and damage to those in our path along the way.
Since we are our children’s primary educator in life, what we model for them is the most important lesson they will receive in managing their emotions, and since our parents were our primary educators and our families are classmates and models as well, we need to first recognize where our own patterns of response and reaction originated. Until we know why we react the way we do and decide if we like that reaction, we will continue to do the same thing and watch our children mimic our response, whether we like that response or not.
It is important to point out to kids what is a useful response to anger and what isn’t. They need to know the difference. And it’s also important to teach them the ways that do work, so they know there are options.
It’s easy to point out when they are doing something that doesn’t work, but they need to learn to experiment and try the options that do work. Come up with a plan with them of ways to respond when they feel angry and on the border of exploding. What are the options besides yelling and exploding?
Here’s the list my kids and I developed for ourselves:
–Breathe and count to ten
–Give ourselves a time out to think before we react, while removing ourselves from the situation
–Modify our expectations—typically our anger gets ignited and we expect that things will go the way we want, but when they don’t, our frustration can turn into anger and we react. If we modify our expectations through compromise or decreasing our expectations, we will decrease our disappointment and in turn decrease our anger.
–Ask someone to remind us that we are trying. When we are in the process of changing habits, it’s easy to get caught up in our patterns. I often get very stressed in the mornings and become frustrated when my kids aren’t ready to leave when I want them to be and I will start to raise my voice and blame them. I can’t stand it! So I asked them to remind me when I start yelling that it’s okay to be frustrated, but we are working on it. I gave them permission to remind me and it has worked well! It actually makes me laugh, and who doesn’t need that?
Anger is conflicting emotion that when used well can be a great motivator, but when used aggressively, can be terribly destructive.
Imagine if everyone took the time and practiced teaching their children how to respond to their anger in positive ways. The entire world would change, one family, one child, one emotion at a time.
About Lynn: She is a mother of 2 young children and a professional school counselor to adolescents. She shares her perspectives regularly on everyday parenting concerns based on professional counseling experience fused with personal parenting experiences, using a blend of humor and reality.
This post was written by Lynn of Perspective Parenting exclusively for Bonbon Break Media, LLC.
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