How Do I Control My Anger As A Parent?
There are times children will behave in ways that make parents angry/ However, as a parent, you have to learn to deal with your anger and express it in ways that are not harmful to you or your child.
As a parent, it is near impossible to not get angry with your kids. In the end, parents are not superhuman. They are real people with life issues, appointments to meet, and bills to pay. So in between these moments, a child may suddenly pop up with a financial issue in school or a fight between the siblings. The parents may feel overwhelmed and find themselves getting fed up and angry with their kids. So how to deal with anger as a parent?
Anger, at their kids especially, can take parents by surprise. When you get home after a long day at work, your children may be playing a little too aggressively, one may use a curse word on the other for wrongdoing. In your mind, you draw a split second conclusion that these children are never up to any good and that it's all your fault for not doing your parenting job well. You lash out before realizing it.
One thing is certain though. Your children are not responsible for your response when they anger you. That's all you. Understandably, you're not thinking straight in those moments of anger. No one has the power to rile you up like your kids. But it's your responsibility to find ways to deal with that anger.
How to deal with anger as a parent
Since it has been established that your children will anger you one way or another, here are tips on how to effectively deal with that anger.
Calm down before taking action
Anger is an emotion that pushes humans to want to take immediate action. So to avoid flying into action you need a way to take control and calm down. It helps to be aware of how anger works and remind yourself to breathe or even smile. Smiling or breathing helps shift the mood to a lighter one. Smiling sends a message to your brain that the situation is not an emergency. Then your body begins to calm down.
For some people, they might need a way of discharging. More like somewhere else to deposit their anger. Some people like to hum or even sing as a way of discharging. Others like to do something more physical like hitting a pillow. If you belong in this demography do it away from your kids. You don't want them to see you hitting a pillow. It might have an unintended consequence for them.
Take a minute
When you find yourself in a rage at home, take a minute to go outside. Anger never allows for rationality, so anything you do at that moment may be regrettable. For most African parents, they think that when they concede anger and leave in front of their kids it means letting the child win. Or that it shows weakness. This is simply untrue. Leaving communicates to the child the gravity of their offence and then your self-control.
Discipline doesn't have to be immediate. It's not like the child is going to disappear into thin air if you don't discipline them at that moment. Communicate your displeasure as calmly as you can, and then let the child know that you will give it some thought and their punishment comes later.
Whatever happens, never hit the child
It's going to be virtually impossible to find an adult in Nigeria (if not Africa) who has never been spanked at any point in their lives by their angered parents. This is for recent generation planning on having kids of their own.
Physical force is never a way to discipline your child. You may feel better immediately after hitting your child because you have successfully discharged the rage. Instead, refer to the aforementioned tips. The more you discharge rage by spanking the more addicted you get. It becomes your natural response anytime your kid misbehaves.
5. Avoid threats
It is easy to fall into the trap of dishing out threats when you get angry. Like a spanking, it makes you feel a bit better because you just channelled the rage. Most threats made in anger are unreasonable and therefore are hardly carried out. This makes your kids get used to it. The fact that you never follow through on your threats tells them that they can do it again next time.
If after everything you're still angry, it helps to remind yourself that anger is a defence human use to shield others emotions like fear and vulnerability. Look for the real source of your anger. What is it you're afraid of or concerned about? Rehash the underlying feeling in your mind and you will begin to regain control. If it persists seek counselling.
Finally, make a list of acceptable ways to behave when you get angry. Talk to your kids too. Tell them how unacceptable it is to hit anyone no matter how angry they make you. You can make the list together.