Dealing with anger as a parent
“Anger is one little litter away from Danger” – unknown
ANGER – we all feel it but most of us haven’t been taught how to wisely express it. Oh to be sure, we express anger all right, but many do so in a destructive way. How many of us have witnessed the meltdown of the “angry parent”. How many of us have been that parent? It is in those outbursts of rage that we lose the bigger picture. It is also important to note that many times we assign “distorted anger” onto others. However, once the dam of anger is broken, emotions overwhelm like that rushing water and destroy everything in its path. What can the single parent do? First, get a clear understanding of the cause of your anger, how to diffuse it and learning healthy ways to express it. Below are the two main types of anger.
Distorted anger and Definitive anger are the two types of anger you will face throughout life.
Distorted anger is defined as taking your anger out on someone who has not wronged you or having a perception that this person has wronged you. Sometimes parents may come home feeling frustrated with their boss but end up taking their anger out on their child. Definitive anger is defined as occurring when we truly have been wronged, such as having your purse stolen. It is important to remember that “anger” is not wrong. However, inappropriately expressing anger can cause you to lose your job, hurt your children and alienate family. Your job is find ways to control your anger, NOT letting your anger control you.
Diffusing Anger: count, breathe, count again.
Sometimes the best response is … NO RESPONSE. There are those times when some people are specifically looking for a reaction from you. So, don’t give them anything. Trust me you will be happy for it. However, for those times that a response is necessary, remember C.B.C. Count, breathe and count again. Measured words have a much more lasting effect when dealing with the target of your frustration and/or anger.
Taking a break: walk away or ride away; But don’t forget the headphones.
This involves walking away, sometimes far away. A bike ride, if possible, is also a great stress reliever. A bubble bath is also an excellent getaway that costs very little. But as we sit in our temporary water of paradise, many forget the headphones that block out the noise beyond the bathroom door. Those little tools can block out the world and induce you into relaxation. If you have young children – have a friend come over while you bathe. If you have teenagers – turn up the volume on your headphones!
As a parent, you walk a fine line when feeling angry. There are times when it’s appropriate to be angry with your children. If your child has broken a rule at school, failed to do their homework or refused to clean up a mess, a consequence is in order. However, if your child accidently spills some juice, an angry torrent of yelling and screaming is hurtful. But if you come home from work after being yelled at by your boss, you have to check your job at the door. Your boss is not worth destroying the happy smile you see on your son or daughter when you walk though the door. The next time you are feeling angry, hold your tongue and take a breath – you will feel better about yourself. But more importantly, you will save your children from heartache.