Anger is a very real emotion in parenting, and I think so many times people are afraid to talk about it. Acknowledging that anger can exist in ourselves towards our children not only makes us feel sad and guilty, it forces us to face our own imperfections.
I wrote this in May of last year:
“If we create a battlefield in our mind against our children, then all is lost. By battlefield, I mean the minute we begin thinking, “My child is doing this on purpose!” “My child is out to get me and make me miserable!” “My child knew what they were doing and planned this!” “My child is just wanting to push each and every one of the buttons I have!” Keep reading to find out the implications of what I mean by that!
Mamas, I have been there and done that and I would like to share something with you that I have learned: If we create a us versus them mentality in our mind and in our attitude before we even open our mouths, then we have lost.
We have lost the opportunity to warmly hold the space for our children, we have lost the moment to guide in peaceful energy the behavior we would like our child to show, we have lost the connection between us and our child.”
The whole post the above came from is here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/22/the-battlefield-of-the-mind-anger-and-parenting/
I wrote some more regarding anger in parenting last November (modified text for this post today):
Conflict is a part of life, and anger is not a BAD emotion – it is just a feeling like other feelings. However, many parents choose to discipline their children when they are angry or hurt. Some parents choose to hit their children when they are angry. Hitting a child is wrong, (if you need an argument for this please see this post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/20/getting-past-fear/ ) and when we lose control and responsibility for our actions when we are angry we lose that teachable moment. A split-second action in anger can also cause a parent to have remorse and guilt. It can necessitate an apology!
Instead of losing control, I would like to talk to you today about how not to be the angry parent……I believe anger issues actually are OUR problem, the parent’s problem. Usually we are trying to do something in a tight time frame, we are carrying in baggage from our own childhood (“I NEVER would have talked to MY parents that way!), we are tired and stressed out over things that may or may not even have to do with that child, we are carrying unrealistic expectations of that child’s behavior, or just in general our needs are not being met.
The questions becomes: what do we want our CHILDREN to do when they are angry and how can we model that for them? If we walk around yelling and slamming doors, how can we be surprised when our six-year old does that?
After you are calm, hopefully you can return to the situation and work to solve the problem. Help the child, guide the child. Breathe in and breathe out.
Patience is developed over time. I am certain I am more patient with this third child than I was with my first child. Learning to relax into parenting and how to let go of the mentality that every single thing must be addressed so the child will not become a Detriment To Society is also learned. Set a timer and see if you can keep your patience for half an hour if that is where you are, and work up from there. You can do this! Fill your own tank so you have something to give. Get your children into a rhythm with an early bedtime so you have time for you and time for you and your spouse.
Most of all, be thankful. Go look at your children while they are sleeping, those small faces, realize how very little ages three, four and five really are. And in this time of dwindling light and moving into darkness, work to cultivate yourself as a light for your family.
Need more help?
Here is the popular back post on “defiance”: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/16/a-few-fast-words-regarding-defiance-in-children-under-the-age-of-6/
Here is a post for when you are feeling chronically angry toward your family: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/05/an-emergency-how-to-how-to-parent-peacefully-with-children-under-age-9/ This is probably my personal favorite post I have ever written on anger.
Many blessings to you all tonight,