Anger is an essential and primary emotion just like fear, frustration, and joy, yet, It has a terrible reputation. It’s what we and our children do with the anger that creates the difficulties. However, this isn’t anger’s fault! This is not anger’s true nature.
Anger helps you identify what’s important to you, it helps you set clear boundaries. Your relationships can’t thrive without healthy anger. However, very few of us have been taught to view anger in this way (or to work with it at all). Therefore, helping our children to manage and understand anger is even more challenging. I hope this blog helps you with your daily parenting challenges.
The Impact of Social Conditioning
I was told from a very early age not to express anger and I am sure you may have too. Hence, Most of us have a hard time picturing healthy and assertive expressions of anger. Parenting is a deeply emotional experience and it originates deep within our brains in our limbic system. As a result, we are going to experience ” intense feelings” within our interactions with our children. If our conditioning has modelled do not express anger or we’ve experienced parents being out of control, It is no wonder we may respond to our children in a heightened threat response by shouting criticizing or by leaving our children. There is further information on the threat response and the emotional brain in my blog below:
What you can do to when your child gets angry
Try to remain present– “Presence” is the concept of being alert and focused on the current moment, rather than looking ahead to the future or distracting yourself from the moment with other thoughts. This does not mean you are a saint, it just means acknowledging anger or fear within yourself and then tending to the parenting task at hand. This is not easy, so sometimes it’s helpful to take a pause, and return in five minutes when calm is restored.
Move into your body – Take some deep grounding breaths prior to responding. If there is no safety issue then give yourself time.
Listen to your child and understand the root of situation-Most parenting experts can agree on this: there is always something motivating a child’s negative or disruptive behaviour. If your child has had a massive meltdown about a toy they wanted, or preferred food. It’s generally motivated by something in your child, whether it was a lack of skills in regulating and managing his big feelings. In addition, it could be a desire to get your attention, or a power/control play to assert your free will. There’s always a reason for the behaviour. It’s our job to be a detective, mirror, reflect, and frame the reason for behaviour back to them.
Try not to take the behaviour personally
Don’t get hooked by rudeness and personal attacks – Parents are often hurt when children shout or argue with them. Your child doesn’t actually hate you or want a new mom or dad. She is in threat response, so she’s pulling out the most upsetting thing she can think of, so you’ll know how upset she is. Just say Okay, you must be so upset to say that to me. Tell me why you’re upset. I’m listening.”
Ensure limits are implemented with Empathy-Do you think time out is effective? In my experience, sending your child to time out every time they misbehave is not really going to change their behaviour. However, they do need limits. It’s always advantageous to problem solve ideas prior to the incident. This will enable your child to make choices and will help you feel more in control and safe.
Examples of phrases to say to your child:
I understand you are angry but I can’t let you kick me, come and sit next to me to calm down.
I see you are really cross but toys are not made for throwing, speak your feeling words!
“Remember what we discussed when you feel angry, we speak out our feelings, take big deep breaths and move into our turtle shell.
Always remember that each of you are doing your very best always, they are not a bad child and you are not a bad parent. Parenting can be stressful—and it’s hard to feel “zen” when you are constantly frustrated, overwhelmed, or feeling anxious. Need extra support, do come and join me at my parent workshop for many more ideas for Anger Transformation, click here Anger Transformation Workshop or contact me for a Zoom or telephone consultation, or sign up for my newsletter to be notified of blogs, free downloads With Love Catherine