(This post is geared toward those times when you are feeling angry daily with your children, not so much for the occasional angry moments. This is sort of like “Emergency Management for Chronic Anger”…)
If you are having an emergency in attempting to parent peacefully, here is a top 10 list of how to do this:
1. Start with understanding your own triggers for anger. Write down the things that are “making” you angry. If every item on that list is child-related, please check and double-check if your expectations are realistic. Underneath anger are usually other feelings such as fear or sadness.
We are all human, and we do get angry. Here is a great post about the opportunity that occasional episode of anger affords children in learning: http://christopherushomeschool.typepad.com/blog/2008/08/dealing-with-anger.html , just to remind you that the complete elimination of anger is not a realistic goal, and that occasional anger is normal and even healthy. The important thing is to show your child constructive ways to deal with anger AND how one can transfor oneself from “Angry Person” back into “Normal Person” without hurting anyone physically or verbally in the process!
2. Get support. Find your local La Leche League group here: www.llli.org and find your local Attachment Parenting group here: http://www.attachmentparenting.org/. Call these Leaders on the phone and talk to them. Both La Leche League and Attachment Parenting put loving guidance/gentle discipline as a main philosophical tenet. Get a family counselor’s assistance as well. Many health care professionals will work on a sliding fee scale.
3. Get support from your family, friends and neighbors. If you are out of control angry everyday with your children, you may need more support right now. Even the 10 year old down the street who could come and play for an hour with with toddler while you are there could be helpful. Investigate all possibilities for help. Call in your friends and explain that you need extra help right now.
4. Check out what is going on with you and your family members physically. Is there a physical reason why you are so tired or depressed? Is there something going on with your child?
5. Check your environment – visual clutter can wind many children up. Clean up their sleeping areas to be restful.
6. Make a list of what you will do to calm down when you are angry and post it somewhere prominent. There is no problem that cannot wait a moment to be solved, and on top of that, how many problems can be solved anyway with everyone yelling and crying? That is not a teachable moment. It is okay to take a moment before you address the situation. Remember that your role is to teach and to guide your children toward being capable, loving, responsible adults.
7. Check out your food; dyes and preservatives and common allergens can make behavior worse.
8. Check out the amount of outside active play your children are getting! They need to get some energy out before they can sit still.
9. Check out what you are requesting of your children; particularly with chores, which seem to particularly anger parents, children under 9 need you there to supervise and assist, to show them how to do it. Children under 7 need to most likely do it with you to have it done to your satisfaction. Children should be expected to work round the house as part of the family; however, for small children we view the parent working and the child weaving in and out and then moving into chores that you have helped them to learn over time, and at under 9 they may still need some supervision or they will get distracted by something else along the way. Check how many times a day you are requesting your children to do something; if it is constant nagging and asking a child to clean up or assist in household chores, that to me is a signal that there 1. Is too many things out in the environment to clean up and/or 2. is no consistent rhythm to chores on a daily basis or a weekly basis.
Watch what you say to your children! Use your words like pearls: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/08/19/using-our-words-like-pearls/
Promote kindness in your home: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/03/kindness-in-your-home/
10. Learn how to forgive yourself. See this post for help: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/22/waldorf-guilt/
and this one: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/04/15/my-kids-deserve-a-different-mother/
Much love and peace to you,
In a previous post Carrie recommended two books on anger in parenting. I bought and read them both and found them immensely useful. I would say order and read them right away. They really will help you.
When Anger Hurts Your Kids, by Matthew McKay et. al.
Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma, by Nancy Samalin
Hey Carrie, I want to thank you so much for your blog. I have been learning about Waldorf for about a year now and I really wish that there was a school where we live but the closest one is in another state. I really appreciate the posts on parenting. I have been really struggling with my parenting for a long time. I have an autistic 9yr old, a 6yr old, and a 4yr old. Can you give me any suggestions for how a Waldorf home should be set up to help create more peace and do you have any post on how to go about creating a daily rythym? I would appreciate you suggestions and feedback. Thanks Kate
Hi kate, Have you searched through the back posts tagged under Rhythm or Children Under 7? There are also many posts under Homeschooling…
I also did a series on 20 Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother, if you use the search engine those should pop up…Carrie
This is a great post Carrie! So much of what is going on is directly related to US. Taking care of us enables us to be what our family needs. So often we think no one is there to help or that our partner/spouse can’t or won’t help and really it is about ASKING – those that love us really don’t want us to be hurting. It is so healing to get at the root of those triggers too… those triggers are usually all about ONE emotion and they come from a place that is very deep within us. Naming the emotional trigger and making peace with our Bag of Poo, walking into the LIGHT makes us ready to meet the daily demands of mothering.
Great post!! Many blessings.
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