Children inspire a range of intense emotions in their parents, and anger is no exception. Everyone knows that getting angry with your kids isn't the best way to deal with your frustration. By learning how to keep a lid on your anger, you are not only defusing any tense situations with your kids, you are showing them -- by example -- how to handle their anger. Not only will you feel better, but your kids will feel better (since you won't be yelling at them), and they'll learn how to make themselves feel better when they get angry. Below, parents share their tips on dealing with their anger in a healthy way.
Change the Way They Act by Changing the Way You React
"I have a three-year-old and a two-year-old. Believe me, they can get to me. I have learned to use my quiet times (such as before I go to bed) to take some really deep breaths and pray for patience. When you are frustrated and are acting out of control, the situation only gets worse for the kids. Try whispering instead of yelling. Try hugging instead of hitting. Let your child know he is loved unconditionally no matter what. It takes work, but I find that the more I love my kids, the better their behavior becomes. Remember, they learn more by example than all the yelling or even talking you could ever do."
~ Dianna, Indiana
Take an Adult Version of "Time Out"
"When I can't take it anymore, I tell my girls I am getting ready to throw a tantrum and need a time out. I go to my room, lock the door, and scream. The kids are usually so surprised that they stop the unwanted behavior and check to make sure I'm okay! I tell them I will be out when my time out is over and to go to the playroom. Then I take five minutes to myself."
~ Voni, California
Sweat it Out
"For me, exercise is the best anger-buster. Any exercise will do: a one-hour run with the dog or a 30-minute exercise session with my favorite exercise tape or several jumping jacks with the little ones (followed by something a little more intense). I know that finding the time to exercise can be tough for lots of people, especially those with little, little kids. But it's definitely worth the effort."
~ Christina, Iowa
"I give my children 'storm warnings' -- a sort of graduated scale of my feelings. I use the warnings in the same sequence every time, so that my children will know exactly how what they're doing is affecting me. But the trick is to start when you first notice something bothering you. So for the first level, you say, 'What you are doing is annoying to me.' Second level, 'What you are doing is really irritating me.' Third, 'What you are doing is making me cross, and if you don't stop right now, I will get very angry.' Finally, fourth, I say 'Now, I am really angry' and impose an appropriate consequence (like grounding or time out). Children naturally push your limits, but they are usually too inexperienced to know from tone of voice or body language when they're going too far. Verbalizing just how far they're going will help them to learn this better."
~ Parent Soup member Mary K H N
Sing Out Loud, Sing Out Strong
"When I am at my wits' end and know that I am going to lash out in a screaming fury, I sing. Doesn't matter if I'm in the car, in the kitchen, or watching television, I sing the same song (hasn't changed in 13 years) at the top of my lungs, from the bottom of my stomach and with every inch of heart I have. I belt that song out. At the end of my song, I am relaxed, smiling, and the house is blessedly quiet. The bickering, the whining, the pestering, and negative-attention-seeking behavior has ended. What can possibly compete with my truly terrible voice and its awe-inspiring volume? It works. My flash of anger is gone, and the children have a few moments to realign their behavior. Oftentimes, they'll even join in. Now my children have learned to use this trick. When being mercilessly teased or badgered by a sibling, they start to sing and don't stop until their tormentor is gone. Best of all, with this tactic, there is never any guilt. Sometimes, it's fun to be angry."
~ Parent Soup member CORRYKG