Nov 10 , 2021
It's normal for parents to get angry with their children at times.
Life is full of pressures: appointments we are late to, things we forget until the last minute, health and financial worries -- the list is endless. Then, in the middle of that stress, our child loses her sneakers, remembers that she needs a new notebook for school, is teasing her little brother, or is being downright belligerent. Suddenly, everything falls apart.
We all know, if we are honest with ourselves, that a calmer state would allow us to deal much more effectively with any parenting challenge. We feel justified in our fury when we are stormed by anger, however. Why is this kid so irresponsible, inconsiderate, ungrateful, and even mean?
The fact remains that no matter how aggravating we find our child's behavior, it doesn't cause us to become angry. We recognize our child's behavior ("He hit her again!"), and we draw an interpretation, which then leads to other interpretations ("I failed as a mother!"). In the present case, this cascade of thoughts results in runaway emotions: fear, dismay, guilt. These feelings are unbearable. Anger is the best defense, which is why we strike out at our children. In two seconds, it's over.
When it comes to our children, why is it so difficult to control our anger? This can be attributed to many reasons, but I think we lose control of ourselves when we become angry. When we lose control and react emotionally to our kids, we are allowing our emotions to dictate how we behave.
Most parents react emotionally to their children without thinking. Instead of taking a moment to pause to think, "Wait, let me first get my own life under control before I respond to my child," most parents believe they need to get their kids under control immediately.
Knowing what sets you off and recognizing when you begin to lose control is the best way to prevent losing control. As parents, it's critical to have this ability. Fortunately, it's a skill that anyone can learn.
As an example, here's one. Think about teaching your child how to ride a bike. The child is complaining and being cranky and talks back to you. Feelings of frustration, irritation, anger, and disappointment combine together. It seems like you should teach him how to ride the bike, but he just won't cooperate.
Your child continues to struggle as you yell at him. He has trouble concentrating because he's so anxious. As a result of feeling pressured to act, he fails.
As a parent, instead of snapping or reacting, ask yourself, “How can I remain calm so that I can help my child to reach his destination?
We don't do it on purpose to lose control and become angry. The reaction just happens. It is possible to train yourself to stay calm by doing certain things.
Here are some techniques to help you remain calm and controlled when dealing with your child.
1) Commit to maintaining control
Do your best to maintain control from now on. Is it when your child ignores you that sets you off? Are you annoyed by backtalk?
You can't always control your temper all the time, and nobody is able to do this 100% of the time. But you can try to keep calm and aspire to do so.
2) Embrace Your Child's Pushing
In a sense, your child is doing her/his job—she’s testing her limits. Likewise, it’s your job to remain calm and make sure that your child knows where the limits are and, when she/he exceeds those limits, that he/she is held accountable.
3) Be aware of your responsibilities as a parent
Keep an eye on what is yours and what is your child's. You need to decide what belongs in your box and what belongs in your child's box. There is a boundary and a personal space within a box. You have your thoughts, feelings, and responsibilities in your box. You can see your child's thoughts, feelings, and responsibilities in his box.
4) Don’t Worry About the Future
Occasionally, we look to the future and wonder if this is what our kids will be like for the rest of their lives. Without even doing their homework, we wonder how they will succeed in the real world. Considering their future makes us want to scream. As parents, we start worrying we're not doing a good job. As far as getting them under our control is concerned, we are unsure what to do.
In reality, things rarely turn out as bad as we imagined. It seems our brains just love to scare us.
5) Focus on positive self-talk
Self-talk is important. It's okay to talk to yourself.You can tell yourself something like, "I won't react to my kid's behavior.". I'm taking a step back. Just go with the flow.”
It may seem hokey, but self-talk can be very effective. Psychology professionals have known for decades about the power of positive self-talk. You can use your thoughts to calm yourself instead of causing anxiety.
Your thinking process at that time is extremely important when your child is irritating you. Keeping an objective view of ourselves and our child should be our goal.
In general, the less we can react, the better. Considering everything carefully will lead to a positive outcome. That's exactly what we're talking about: responding thoughtfully instead of simply reacting. Someone once said, "Response comes from the word responsibility." In that sense, managing one's anger is taking responsibility for what we want to do rather than just reacting out of anger when our buttons are pushed.
We'll do better as parents if we can put our thinking ahead of our emotions. That’s the goal.