Have you ever been really angry with one of your children and caught yourself being a total bitch to them but kept on going, kind of like you were enjoying the power trip? Our kids can react in two ways when we dominate them with our anger, they can be passive and apologetic or they can be aggressive and fight back. Some kids might even do a bit of both!
I don’t know about you but I’m not exactly proud of myself or my behaviour when I catch myself taking my anger out on one of my kids. Mind you it is perfectly human because all of us have a Shady and when we are angry about something Shady just wants to tear everyone and everything down so we can stand on top of the pile of rubble and shout, “Don’t mess with me!”
Let’s go back to where our anger comes from before we work out how to manage it. We get angry because:
- Our body needs something (like food, sleep, exercise, water) or our body is not liking something we gave it (like junk food, alcohol, drugs) or
- We are consciously thinking a shady thought (like, “That’s not okay. How dare he do that? Who does she think she is? That’s not fair!”) Or
- We have had a subconscious belief triggered by an event or someone else’s behaviour (like, “My child is not allowed to eat junk food” and someone gave them bloody junk food.)
Basically anger is a Shady response. Sometimes it helps us and sometimes it doesn’t. It is totally okay to be angry (whether it is helpful or not) but it is not okay to:
- Hurt ourselves
- Hurt others (physically or emotionally) or
- Wreck stuff that isn’t supposed to get wrecked.
In other words it is not okay to take our anger out on our kids. It is not okay to yell at them, belittle them, threaten them or blame them. Sure they may have done something stupid but wouldn’t you rather someone be loving and patient with you when you stuff up? Anger is not fertile ground for learning.
So the best way to help our kids when we are angry is to STOP what we are doing and saying and work out exactly why we are angry and then do something about it. Taking all three short cuts will do this for the short term, but if they don’t work a Pit Stop is the way to go. (I have attached these summaries from the Big Kids book for you as photos).
In other words our anger is our issue and it helps if we deal with our own issues rather then react on autopilot and take our anger out on our kids.
Knowing all this and doing it mind you are two very different things – so if you do stuff up and take your anger out on your kids – forgive yourself and apologise. It’s okay to be human. We are all learning and the best environment to learn in is a loving one.