Do you lose your cool every time your child answers back or turns up the TV volume? While feeling angry is absolutely normal, reacting angrily can have a lasting effect on your children. Studies show that parents who frequently lose their tempers raise children who are less empathetic, more depressed and more aggressive. They could also have anger management issues as adults.
However, if you use a calm, controlled approach to manage your anger, you can turn common anger triggers into teaching moments for your child and ensure a happy, pleasant environment at home.
Anger Management Strategies for Parents
A popular quote goes thus, “Children teach you many things. How much patience you have, for example.” As a parent, I fully appreciate this quote! Parenting is enjoyable but tough. And, even the most mild-mannered parents can lose their tempers at times with their children.
But, getting angry in response to a situation only exacerbates the problem. A valuable teaching moment then turns into an incident that ruins everyone’s day. As the old saying goes, “Anger is often more hurtful than the injury that caused it.”
What you, as a parent, need is a set of strategies to redirect your anger away from your children. This will make you focus on the problem and not the person. This may be difficult, especially if your own childhood was filled with experiences involving angry adults. Yet, you can always rewrite old scripts and make your parenting journey more effective and pleasant. Here are some easy ‘calm-down’ strategies for parents of children of all ages.
Basic Anger Management Strategies for Parents
1. Stop everything: Before taking another step or uttering another word, close your eyes and breathe. If necessary, distance yourself from the scene, perhaps by going into another room.
2. Have a ‘calm-down plan’: This can be anything – a short prayer, an affirmation or simply counting. Your head will then feel clearer and you’ll be in a better position to be objective about what happened. Tell yourself you’re the parent and in control, and that you can fix it without losing your cool.
3. Consider the situation: What really happened? Was it just something minor like a spilt drink? Or, was it something more serious like your teen staying out till midnight? As a parent, you have to pick your battles and let some things go.
4. Fix the problem: Fix any immediate problem, like cleaning up the spilt drink. How you react in such situations teaches your children valuable lessons in handling tough situations. Let them learn that you need to stay calm and keep your emotions aside when dealing with unexpected problems.
5. Discipline later: The best time to discipline your children is not when you’re angry. It’s wiser to wait till you’re calmer. Otherwise you’ll use hurtful words that you’ll regret later.
6. Keep an anger journal: If you feel that such incidents happen frequently, keep an anger journal to record the times you lose your temper. Include details of how you felt before they happened. You might identify some common triggers which you can take steps to avoid. It might also throw up a few underlying issues you weren’t aware of.