“IF our response is to win by force, we cannot hope to reach a peaceful solution. When we inflict our wills at the expense of theirs, we are simply being bullies, and although we might win the battle, we’re eventually going to lose the war.” – page 187.
Between the polarities of being a wishy-washy, no-boundaries-set, “I want to be my child’s friend” kind of parent and that of the authoritarian, “I am going to teach my a child a lesson they will never forget” kind of parent, there is a Middle Way. There is a road that can walk the lines of having loving but firm boundaries and limits coming from a place of love, a place of working to help your child and guide your child to be a wonderful, healthy adult.
Here are the eight weapons in the war on anger from the book:
1. Exit or Wait – When you are angry you MUST exit or wait. “The wonderful thing about saying NOTHING (Carrie’s emphasis) is that you never have to take it back.”
Try this back post for help: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/10/22/back-to-basics-the-parenting-challenge-of-the-week/
This also applies to those of you who are trying to control impulses in regards to hitting or spanking your children. No child deserves to be guided with this, and here is why: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/20/getting-past-fear/
You may not be able to leave small children in the heat of the moment, so you MUST be able to stop, breathe and gain control. For older children, you can say that you are angry and need a break and that you will be back when you calm down.
2. “I”, NOT “YOU” –Using “I” statements for what you need and want. I think this could be a more valid technique for those over the age of the six/seven change, and certainly over the age of 9.
I find this to be not especially effective with small children under the age of 7, their impulses just get the best of them and words about what you need or don’t need don’t work as well for this age group. For this age group, under 7, you need gentle physical movement, like helping the child put on the coat whilst you sing the song you always sing when you get ready to go outside, you need work for the child to do with those hands that forgot what they are doing, and sort of “We do this” kind of gentle tone and attitude. You must be very clear in your own head as to what the rules of the house are!
3. Stay In The Present – in other words, don’t dredge up the twenty times before your teenager forgot to take the garbage out and launch into lengthy tirades that your child tunes out after the first sentence. I wrote a post about “Verbal Spillage” a while back: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/05/19/patience-parenting-and-verbal-spillage/
The authors add this as well: “Futurizing is a common reaction to children’s misbehavior. Stick to the present and banish such dire predictions as “You’ll end up in jail like Uncle Archibald – a miser, a sptendthrift, lay bum…” No bringing in all the things the child or teenager is doing that is bothering you. Steady, and focus on one area at a time.
(Carrie here again with a special age note: Children from the six year change to the nine year change are in a state of excesses – emotional excess, physical excess. I think in children of this age we must ALWAYS look for balance, and be looking for opportunities to enforce what the child really needs to practice. For example, if you have a child that jumps into everything with two feet and looks later, then every opportunity that comes up in life involving waiting, taking turns, being patient, having to be home instead of go, go, go should be taken advantage of and addressed in order to help this child practice. As parents, we must always keep the big picture in mind. We don’t use those words with the child and tell them all that, but just DO IT in action).
4. Avoid physical force and threats. “Try not to threaten or punish when you’re in the midst of a rage. Unreasonable threats, stinging words, and hitting rarely happens when we are calm. We usually end up making threats that are unenforceable – “You’re grounded for life” …and the physical punishments and harsh words are demeaning.” – page 194
Next post up will look at weapons five through eight in the war on anger.