The first time you held your baby in your arms…all you could feel towards him was love…sweet , sweet overwhelming love, right? You never thought that one day this same sweet precious bundle of joy could cause you to feel like your head could explode…right again?!!!
I can picture many of you nodding in agreement…I will be honest, there are times that I felt like I could lose it. I may be a parenting expert, but I am human right?! At times like this it takes immense patience, control and parental ‘self talk’…but the good news is that there is hope, you can change and it is possible to get back to feeling the joy of parenting!
Here are 3 steps to help you with parental anger:
- The Volcanic Build Up – Recognize why you get angry
- The Cost of your Anger- Become aware of its impact on the child
- The ‘Boss of Your Anger’- Learn what you can do when you are angry
The Volcanic Build Up: If you take a step back you will realise that though it seems like something your child did or did not do caused you to lose control, that incident might really just be the last straw that broke the camels back…or in this case your back! Anger is usually a mixture of many feelings like feeling powerless, helpless, undervalued, disappointed, frustrated, over-scheduled or just because of fatigue and lack of sleep! It could also be a displacement of unresolved issues and anger that you actually have towards someone else- like your boss, your spouse, in-laws…am sure you can add to this list! Awareness of these other feelings that are mixed up with your anger is the first step to dealing with your anger. From this objective understanding comes a more balanced response to that last ‘straw’ that was added by your child, which broke your back!
The Cost of Your Anger: Though the first few times your lose it, it might seem like it is working, as your child starts to listen and obey, it is actually damaging, and affects a child’s sense of esteem and confidence. When a child is forced to obey out of fear, he or she feels helpless. If you continue to shout and use anger as a way to get your child to obey you, one of three things can happen depending on the child’s temperament. Some children become immune to your anger; they ignore it and shut you out emotionally, some may rebel by trying to copy your behaviour by screaming louder and becoming more disobedient and perhaps even start to bully other children [as they see this as a way to resolve conflict or influence others] and the third type of child might become withdrawn, be afraid to take risks and hesitate to express himself even with other adults [like teachers]. In the long run, this child might grow up to be an adult that is emotionally stoic and indifferent, angry or scared. In effect he or she will find it hard to build meaningful relationships or learn to resolve conflicts in a healthy way.