Parenting is quite a difficult job, particularly when it comes to anger management. Children often lack a good sense of reasoning, leading to a lot of issues like misbehavior, tantrums, and yelling. They don’t understand how social skills work and live in their own bubble.
They can really push your limits, so it is easy for you to lose your temper. You may yell, scream, or shout, and this is what majority of parents do. However, you need to understand that this is damaging to a young child.
You are an adult, so it is your responsibility to cool down when it gets tough. Here are a few tips on how to manage anger when around your vulnerable children.
Learn to communicate effectively
Kids rarely listen to yelling, so shouting at them doesn’t help. It is very frustrating to feel like you aren’t being heard, but you need to understand that they are only kids whose attention is difficult to get! Here are some tips that can help you in anger management:
- Use firm language, calmly
- Keep it concise
- Be consistent
- Don’t give in
- Make eye contact
No matter how long it takes, stand your ground!
Dr. Alan Kazdin, Yale professor of child psychiatry and psychology, has come up with a unique but important series of steps for more efficient and calmer parenting. It is called ABCs program and it is as follows:
- Antecedent: This part of the program involves preparing the kid for what they are expected to before they may need it, allowing them to prepare for it and remember it. For instance, if you want them to put the dishes away, tell them “Please put your dishes in the sink once you’re done eating your snack!”
- Behaviors: This part of the program is about molding the behavior you want. Many children learn by example, so it is your own responsibility to ensure this happens. If you are trying to teach them to put the dishes in the sink after eating, do the same with your dishes.
- Consequence: This is the part where you show positive reinforcement to your kind for engaging in the right behaviors. Once your kid puts their dishes away, give them a praise or hug them as a sign of approval.
Another way to prepare beforehand is by being fully aware of your anger levels. If you feel yourself begin to get annoyed, prepare both yourself and the children, by telling them what the problem is, such as you had a bad day at work, you are tired, you need to focus, your are becoming irritated because of their arguing, etc.
Learn to understand your own anger management process
If you learn to understand your anger, you will be able to respond to it in a way that is less reactive and more proactive. Here are some tips on how to do so:
- Identify the root (Anger is a secondary emotion, so there is always another feeling behind it. It could be sadness, fear, panic, stress, embarrassment, or helplessness)
- Figure out what triggers to you start yelling (Some examples are: certain negative behavior, certain phrases said by children, such as “I don’t wanna!” or “You can’t make me do it!”, and external factors combined with mild misbehavior)
- Take note of physical responses (Taking notes of these responses will help you detect them when you need to use anger management. Common examples include reddening face, quickened pulse or heart rate, clenched fists, tightened muscles, and shallow breathing)
Anger may seem complex, but it is a simple emotion. Understanding it will help you manage it better.
Take a break
Too angry? Just walk away and take a break! When you feel like you are about to explode, step out of the room. When away, sit down, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Wash your face and freshen up a little. Saying a positive affirmation or mantra to yourself can also help. Some examples include: “I will be patient today,” “I will only show love,” “My child needs understanding and patience,” etc.
If have been yelling at your child as a bit of a habit, it can be quite difficult to stop it. The key lies in continual practice.
Anger management is extremely important for good parenting. You can learn to be calmer or find outlets for that anger.
Practices for calmer thoughts:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Keeping a journal to record gratefulness and express your thoughts
- Practicing yoga
Healthy outlets for anger
- Practicing sports
- Screaming into or punching a pillow
- Writing in a journal about your anger
- Making art that expresses your anger