Children can inspire so many emotions - love, pride, thankfulness, and sometimes, anger. Of course, children aren't the only people who can make you angry, but when you are angry around your kids, you are also teaching them how to deal with their own anger. And these lessons can last a lifetime. (Can you remember the time you made your parents extremely mad? Chances are, you can recall it vividly, even though it was years ago.) The more you are able to show your anger in healthy ways, the more your kids will be able to do it too. Here, the parents of Parent Soup share their tips for defusing potentially volatile situations and teaching how to handle anger in a positive way.
"First, I recommend a support network. I am the mother of a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old, and in both cases, a playgroup has been a lifesaver. Starting a playgroup is as simple as meeting like-minded mothers on the playground or in a baby class and rotating houses for get-togethers. These groups are invaluable for support and advice for mothers. Second, make sure you get enough time alone. Employ baby-sitters, or find a relative who can help out once or twice a week minimum. Get out of the house to do something by yourself or with friends several times a week. Also, I really appreciate it when my husband steps in and helps me when I'm fed up with the kids."
"It's gotten so bad that I've joined a gym to exercise and relieve some tension. If you knew me you'd realize that shows how desperate I am! While I know I'm not, sometimes I feel like the worst mother in the world. It feels a little better knowing that others are struggling too."
"Get help if you can. Read books on the subject and just refuse to give in to your rage. But don't stuff your anger either. Get it out and talk about it after the rage passes. Remember it's okay to feel angry and talk about anger. It's not okay to act out anger (verbally or physically)."
"This is what I do because I read it somewhere and it works for us. When my son is acting up, I put him in his room and tell him, 'I am so angry I cannot talk to you right now and you need to stay in your room until I am not so angry.' He wails and I try to get out of earshot if only for a minute to get a grip. He stays in his room until I've stopped raging. I'm not punishing him, I'm protecting him. When I return to him and if he's still crying I tell him, when he stops crying I want to talk about what happened and why I'm angry. When we finally talk I am also sure to ask him how he's feeling. I think by giving him the opportunity to share his side (without judging him or his thoughts or feelings) demonstrates and teaches respect. Something my mom never did for me. I also think that sharing feelings prevents us from stuffing them. Something I learned to do because my mom never heard me out. And stuffing feelings creates a whole 'nother bag of snakes."
"I have found putting myself in time out helps. At first, it made my son mad but he's catching on. What it really does is get him to give me a little space."
"Keeping a house clean with two lively toddlers is a challenge in any household. The key is organization. Lay everything out the night before, have a place for everything. Keep things out of reach you do not want to have to clean up later. I have hired someone to clean my house, even if only for a few hours on a one-time basis. You wouldn't believe how much that can help. It makes the job seem not quite so overwhelming. I feel run-down and depressed also. But knowing there are others out there like myself and being able to talk to them on the Internet helps me immensely. If it is any consolation, kids outgrow some of these behaviors as they gain their own identity and strengthen their abilities."