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Anger is a natural human emotion. As a parent, there are numerous instances where you feel that your kids are not in control and you feel angry with them. More often than not, parents lash out at their kids in a fit of anger. This is not ideal because, in the spur of the moment, you may say things which you cannot take back later on and feel regretful. It can have a long-lasting negative impact on the children in the long run. Even suppressing anger can lead to problems like frustration and depression in the long run. The key is to understand how to control your anger and channel it healthily rather than suppressing it.
Why is Anger Management Important for Parents?
Although anger is a natural emotion, expressing it by yelling at your kids or anyone, for that matter, is not. Yelling can give birth to very negative feelings in your relationship with your children and even your partner. Lack of anger management would also make you seem like a less approachable person. Anger management helps you as a parent to channel the anger that you feel in a healthy manner. It also helps in letting your children know that you are angry with them, without completely scaring them. This, in turn, can help your children in realizing where they might have gone wrong. Hence, channelling your anger can also impart a more effective lesson to your children than just losing your temper and creating a tense scene.
How Can Your Anger Affect Your Child’s Growth?
As discussed above, there are a lot of negative effects of anger on your children’s growth. Firstly, this would create a dent in the relationship you share with your kids and your partner. Secondly, due to the fear of getting scolded, your children can start hiding things from you. This can be a grave issue in the future, where you may not be able to provide help to your children when they actually need it.
Thirdly, every outburst you have affects the personality of your children – angry parents will make the children grow into either extremely subdued personalities or extremely angry people. Both are not good personality types for your child to develop. Physically expressing anger can also cause permanent physical and emotional injury to your child as well.
Recognising Your Signs of Anger
The first important step towards controlling your anger is to understand the signs of anger that your body is showing. Once you become aware that your body is showing one or a combination of these signs, you can be aware that there is a chance that you may explode out of anger. This should be your signal to stop feeling angry and to try to calm down before you react negatively to these stimuli and make things worse. Here are some of the signs that your body shows when you start feeling angry:
- You start breathing rapidly.
- Your heart starts pounding really fast.
- You start getting negative thoughts, such as there is no one to support you and so on.
- You clench your jaws and your palms.
- Your shoulders start getting tense.
- Your stomach starts churning.
- You start feeling irritated and sweat a lot.
When these signs start surfacing, hit the pause button and calm yourself down for your sake and the sake of your children and spouse.
Anger Management Ideas for Parents
It is very necessary to follow some good life-hacks on how to handle feeling angry with your children. You can follow these simple yet effective ideas for keeping your anger in control:
1. Take a Few Deep Breaths
One of the most effective ways to control any form of anger is to take deep breaths. When you breathe in and breathe out, it helps you contemplate and think before you act. Since reacting to anger is mostly impulsive, breathing deeply helps in curbing your impulses and keeping your anger in check. Breathing also helps you take some time out to think about how to channel your anger effectively, so that your children learn the lesson they need to learn. This will also create a positive impact on your children as they learn from you to breathe and think before they react impulsively to a difficult situation thrown at them in the future.
2. Seek Counselling for Anger Management
It is never a bad idea to ask for an expert’s help whenever you are having a problem in life. Reaching out for help is the first sign towards improving a problem, which starts with you admitting that you have a problem. Good therapy can help you in a lot of ways. Your problems feel simpler and burdens, lighter, when they are heard by someone, without any opinion or judgement. A good therapist can help you in this regard by listening to your problems and suggesting changes from an unbiased point of view.
3. Do Not Hit or Resort to Violence
One of the most natural responses to anger, as Indian parents, is to hit children to discipline them. This kind of punishment has an extremely adverse effect on the children, affecting their confidence and personality. Moreover, this depletes the relationship capital that parents have with their children like nothing else. When you preach to your kids not to resort to violence, then it is not a good example you set by using violence on your own kids.
4. Picture How Your Relationship with Your Child will Look Like in the Future
When you get angry with your children, it is extremely important to take a moment to draw a mental picture of how your relationship with your children will look like 20 years down the line. It is very important to think about whether such aggression would help in strengthening or weakening your relationship with your children when they grow up. Looking at things from this viewpoint helps in controlling your anger efficiently and handling the situation wisely.
5. Choose the Right Place and the Right Time to Channel Your Anger, if Needed
Shouting, punishing and yelling at kids in public affects their confidence and people skills adversely. This can completely make them rebellious or socially awkward in certain conditions when they grow up. Choosing to show your anger towards your child at the right time and place, if it is very necessary, helps the kids understand the importance of how to behave in public and not to create a scene.
6. Identify What Triggers You
Introspecting on the root cause behind what sets you off will help you in identifying such situations well in advance. When you are aware of what can make you angry well in advance, you can prepare towards creating counter-measures for the same. Moreover, this helps you in identifying your own weak points and helps you work towards improving it. This move towards self-realisation can be a valuable tool.
7. Never Judge Your Children
Judging your children plants a perception of themselves in the children’s minds. This is especially because, for the children, you are their ultimate role model. When you judge your kids based on their behaviour at a certain point of time, it influences them in an extremely adverse manner. Think of this being analogous to this situation – your boss and your biggest mentor telling you that you are an average professional and do not have a lot of potential. You will be heartbroken, won’t you? Moreover, you will start accepting it to be true in the back of your mind. No matter what, you should keep inspiring your children to do good without judgments.
8. Keep Some Slogans and Recite Them
When you feel that your temper is rising, keep a few slogans like “stop”, “calm down”, “control yourself”, “it’s not important to get angry” etc., handy. Recite them in your mind to try to calm yourself down. This can help you with a sudden surge of anger. Once again, reason can prevail over your impulsive reaction to anger if you create habits to calm yourself down, such as reciting a slogan repeatedly when you feel angry.
9. Meditate to Find More Peace
Meditating works wonders not just in controlling your anger, but also, in helping with self-realisation and self-improvement in the long run. If you have more control over your thoughts and are more self-aware, you can detect the situations that can make you angry more efficiently. This can help you work towards improving your anger issues and make your life and your children’s life happier.
10. Hug Your Child
A hug can work wonders where thousands of strong words can have no impact. A hug is the strongest form of non-verbal communication to show your children that you care for them. When you hug your child when they irritate you, it can help them think about their mistakes and work towards correcting it. All lessons can be learned without any angry words being spoken. This also strengthens your bond with your child. Not a bad deal, is it?
Your children’s minds are like soft sponges that absorb anything that is in their environment. Expressing anger towards them can cause a lot of damage to them, in terms of their personality, their confidence levels, and their personal growth in general. Although it is necessary at times to express your anger, many times it is more effective not to do so and to control it instead.