Do you find yourself making threats, inflicting punishments, or screaming in anger?
Do you feel overwhelmed, tired or stressed, and unsure how to handle your anger differently?
Do you feel like a horrible parent?
You are not alone.
Many parents struggle to control their anger.
If you are tired of being an angry parent and are ready to try a calmer approach, congratulations!
6 Tips to Control Your Anger
Changing your parenting takes time. If you’re willing to slow down and take a good look at what’s behind your anger, you will be in a better place to control it – and handle things in a calm, respectful way!
Try a few of these tips next time you get angry:
- Take A Deep Breath: Even if you are already in the middle of an argument with your child, it is never too late to stop and take a deep breath or a break to calm down. It may feel like “backing down” or “giving in,” but actually it is actually the most important step to managing your anger.
- Find Your Trigger: Every parent will have different “triggers” or things that commonly lead them to respond with anger. What are your triggers? Is your child’s behavior, such her refusal to follow directions; or is it is a phrase, such as “You can’t make me” or “NO!
- Listen to Your Thoughts: This is a tricky, but important step. While it seems like all you’re feeling is anger, it’s helpful to identify any “hidden” thoughts and feelings. In these “trigger” situations, parents may feel helpless, scared or overwhelmed. Or you may be thinking, “I can’t handle this!
- Observe Your Body: How does your body respond to anger? Common physical responses may include: tight shoulders, clenched fists, racing heartbeat, and shallow breathing. Tuning in to these changes in your body can help you catch your anger sooner, and give you more time to calm down.
- Reevaluate the Situation: Once you feel calm again, you can look at the situation with a clear head. Is there something you can do differently next time? Do you need to brainstorm solutions with your child? Is this a pattern of behavior that may need professional help?
- Repeat: Like any change, parenting without anger is a process. It is not going to happen overnight, and it is unreasonable to expect change without some effort. You will find many opportunities to practice these steps (unfortunately). The good news is: the more often you practice, the easier it will become.
Anger is a big emotion. Some angry responses are patterns that were formed in childhood; others are a reflection of how our own family displayed emotion. It is not a sign of weakness to seek help during this process. Ask a friend to keep you accountable to responding calmly, contact me for Parent Coaching or find a therapist to help you work through any underlying issues that are leading you to respond in anger.
If you feel that your anger is putting your children in danger, either emotionally or physically, please seek help immediately. Local crisis response services may be available to provide immediate support and resources. In an emergency, please call 911.