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7 anger management tips for moms and dads - because parents lose their cool too

Are you the sort of person that starts fuming when someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you find yourself losing your cool when your child refuses to listen to you? Although anger is a fairly normal and healthy emotion, it is necessary for you to learn how to deal with it positively. If you let your anger go out of control, it has the potential to take a toll on your relationships as well as your health.

As parents, we all have moments where we say things we later wish we hadn’t. When shoes disappear randomly or the crayons end up on the walls, it is normal for us to respond angrily. Being a parent, particularly a mom isn’t an easy job. At times, you may find yourself losing your temper and having ‘bad days’. When chronic, your anger may spiral out of control and lead to severe consequences for your health, state of mind and relationships. Now if you frequently find yourself shrieking at your kids and regret it later, here’s a bit of advice for you:

7 Understand anger

Anger is an emotion which is neither good nor bad. You need to bear in mind the fact that it is perfectly normal and actually healthy for you to feel angry when you’ve been wronged or mistreated. The problem doesn’t lie in the feeling – it is the outcome of this feeling and how you express it that makes a difference. When anger starts harming you or others, that’s when it turns into a problem.

In case you get angry very quickly, there’s a good chance that you will feel it getting out of your hands – the worst part is that you might find that there isn’t much you can do to tame it. However, it is extremely important for you to control your anger – far more important that you may think. You can learn how to express your anger without having to hurt yourself and others around you – and when you learn about them, you will get your needs met and eventually feel fairly better on the whole. This means that you need to master the art of anger management and the more you practice, the easier it is going to become for you in the long run.

Keep the payoff in mind

To motivate yourself towards controlling your anger, the best thing for you to do is to keep the payoff in mind. Honestly speaking, the rewards of anger management can be huge. This is because it can go a long way in terms of achieving your goals in life, building better relationships and leading the healthiest, most satisfying life possible.

6 Think before you speak

In the heat of the moment, it is fairly natural for you to end up saying something that you will regret later on – and doing so is just what you need to avoid. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to take a few moments so as to collect your thoughts and refrain from saying anything at all during this time. While you are at it, the other involved in the situation will be able to do the same, thereby helping you avoid hurting others by saying something harsh.

While you are angry, be it on your spouse or on your kids, it is necessary for you to listen to yourself and see what you are saying to or in front of your children. Is this the sort of example you wish to set for your little ones? Is this the sort of behavior you wish to model for them? Listen to what you are saying – if this isn’t the sort of thing you want others to say to you, refrain from saying it completely. People, for some reason, think that children are rather naïve and hence say anything they want in front of them. However, you need to know that kids can hear extremely well what their adults are saying. Apart from that kids also happen to be extremely receptive to what they hear, which means that your words can affect them without you even knowing about it.

Things to avoid

Yes, there are things that you should totally avoid saying in front of children. These include things like swearing (you DON’T want your child to start swearing at you) and complaining about day-to-day activities to people like your partner and friends etc.

5 What’s the reason behind your anger?

If you are the sort of person that deal with out of control anger, then there is a serious need for you to wonder why you have this much anger pent up in you. The thing with anger issues is that these typically stem from the things that you’ve learned in your childhood. So basically, if you’ve seen your parents scream at each other, fight like maniacs, and throw things at each other, there’s a good chance that you will perceive those actions as the right means of expressing anger. Apart from that, having high levels of stress or being surrounded by traumatic events may also make you fairly more susceptible to anger too.

When you truly want to express your anger in an appropriate manner and get your needs met, it is necessary for you to remain in touch with your feelings.Is it really just anger or are you masking other feelings like hurt, shame, insecurity or embarrassment with your anger? To put it in clear words, if your response to many situations is sheer anger, there is a good chance that you are exhibiting aggression so as to cover up your true emotions, needs and feelings. This is particularly true if you grew up in a family where any expression of feelings was discouraged by the elders.

Get back in touch with your feelings

In case you feel disconnected or find yourself stuck on a single anger-filled response to everything, there is a dire need for you to get back in touch with your feelings. You need to be aware of your emotions, which, I must add, is the key to self-understanding and success in life. 

4 How do you express your anger?

You need to consider the ways in which you express your frustration and anger. For instance, if you are angry over something your child did, do you start getting overcritical or do you just hold it inside till the time you finally explode in sheer rage? Do you start being aggressive to dominate others around you? As a parent, it is necessary for you to bear in mind that your child learns by imitation and when he gets angry, he is going to copy you.

At times parents get angry on their children out of sheer misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Although your child truly wants to make you happy, he has a very short attention span and his agenda isn’t really the same as yours. For instance, when you dress him up a bit to go out and then start getting ready yourself, he may go out in the garden and climb a tree. When you find him dirty, you may get angry because you believe he’s done it just to annoy you, although he did it because he got bored. He didn’t know his actions would anger you and he just wanted to pass the time as you got ready.

Use positive discipline

If your child has done something you don’t approve of, it is necessary for you to tell him about it. However, you need to do it without focusing on him – instead, focus on his behavior. If he has hit his brother, instead of saying, “It was mean of you to hit your brother”, say something like, “Hitting isn’t a good thing”.

3 Taking a timeout is necessary

Yes, even though you are a parent, you deserve a timeout too. What you need to do is to give yourself short breaks during the day when you find things getting a bit stressful. As you take a few moments of quiet time to yourself, you will find yourself being better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting angry or irritated.

With the passage of time, you will hopefully learn that intervening in any situation in a state of anger is the worst thing to do. What you should instead do is to give yourself a timeout and come back to things when you calm down a bit. If you are angry on your child, just move away from him physically so as to avoid the temptation of reaching out and touching him violently. Just tell him that you are too made to talk right now and that you are going to calm down by taking a timeout. This way, you will be able to express to him just how serious the situation is and most importantly, you will model self-control too. Take this bit of time to calm yourself down and prevent yourself from going into a frenzy.

Identify possible solutions

When you take a timeout, stop focusing on what made you made and instead focus on how the issue at hand can be resolved. While you are at it, keep reminding yourself that anger is not going to fix a thing and is only going to make things worse for you and those around you. This way, it will be easier for you to resolve things as you will think with a clear mind. 

2 Refrain from using physical force

Nearly 85% of adolescents claim that their parents have slapped or spanked them at some point or the other. What needs to be mentioned here is that countless research studies have shown how negative an effect spanking can have on a child’s development – and it may last all through his life. It is for this reason that you should refrain from getting physically abusive towards your child no matter how angry you are.

To be honest, I personally believe that these widespread feelings of depression and anxiety are the mere after-effects of so many of using having grown up with adults who used physical force on us. As many parents continue to repress the emotional pain that they feel, they eventually end up taking it all out on their own kids by being physically abusive. Although spanking your kid may give you temporary satisfaction as it assists in discharging your rage, the simple fact is that it is bad for your child. With the passage of time, it is going to sabotage everything positive that you do with and for your child. Apart from that, hurting your child physically may even elevate matters and turn them extremely violent.

Control yourself

No matter what it takes, it is necessary for you to control yourself when you are angry. Leave the room if you have to, but don’t let yourself get physical with anyone, particularly your child. Just in case you lose it and hit your child, say sorry to him right away and tell him that what you did was wrong.

1 Never threaten your kids

Any threats that you make in a state of anger will probably be rather unreasonable. You need to bear in mind that threats are only effective when you are willing to follow through on them. If that is not the case, empty threats will only undermine your authority and make it less likely that your kids will follow the rules in times to come. If your child has violated the rules just tell him that you need a bit of time to think about an adequate response for his actions. The suspense you will put him through is going to be far worse than throwing a string of threats at him – that too threats that you know you won’t enforce.

Also, research suggests that the more calmly you speak, the more calm you will feel and the more calmly others will respond to you. For this reason, no matter how angry you are, it is highly recommended for you to speak as calmly as possible. Along with that, you need to refrain from the utilization of swear words, because these tend to make the listener even more upset, which in turn escalates the situation.

You are part of the problem

As long as you are open to emotional growth, your child is going to show you just where you need to work on yourself. In every interaction that you have with your child, you have the power to calm or escalate the situation. To make things work, you need to manage your own emotions first. Once you learn to stay calm, there is a good chance that your child behavior and attitude will change over time too.

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