Do you get frustrated when you see your kids react in negative, angry ways? Do they lash out to hurt you, siblings, family members, friends, coaches, and teachers?
If you are a parent of a child who has anger issues, I’m sure you are looking for ways to help them handle that anger. But the first place to start is by looking in the mirror.
As parents, you must learn how to handle your anger in a responsible, positive way. If not, you discredit all your good efforts at parenting.
These steps to stopping destructive habits are taken from the book The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers by Gary Chapman:
Admit the Truth
Admitting the truth about your struggle with anger is the first and most likely, the hardest step. Many parents simply don’t want to admit that they have problems controlling their anger.
Begin by admitting this truth to yourself, and then sit down and talk to your family, telling them that you have mismanaged your anger and that you want to change.
Chapman suggests parents say something like this: Over the next few weeks I am going to be working on this. But if I lose my temper with any of you and start to yell and scream, you will help me if you will put your hands over your ears, walk out of the room, and if you like,
Admitting this weakness to your kids will not be easy, but if you really want to help them with their anger, you must start with handling yours.
Develop a Plan
Once you admit to yourself and to your family that your anger management is not acceptable, it’s time to break the negative habits with a plan.
If you do as Chapman suggested above, telling your children to put their hands over their ears and walk out of the room, you’ve already initiated a first strategy.
There is no right or wrong here. Find what works for you: counting to 100, sending your child into the other room until you are calm, taking a walk, or riding a bike are a few options.
Pick something that allows you to have time to cool off and use it every single time you feel the anger taking over.
Ask Yourself Questions
Once you are calm enough to analyze the situation, ask yourself some questions:
Why am I angry?
Do I have all the facts or am I jumping to conclusions?
Do I really know their motive?
Has my child really done something wrong or am I over-reacting?
Are my expectations too high?
Maybe you will realize that your anger was not really justified and that an apology is in order. Or maybe your anger is justified and there needs to be a conversation to resolve the issue.
Either way, giving yourself time to process the reason for your anger will be much healthier for the family.
Get the Person to Talk
Once you’ve calmed down and processed, it’s time to talk. It does not have to be immediately, but it’s important to schedule a time for the conversation.
Chapman suggests approaching the conversation in this way: I want to share my feelings with you because I value our relationship. I know that I may have misunderstood or misinterpreted the situation. But I want to tell you what I saw and how I felt. Then I would like for you to tell me your perspective. Perhaps I’ve missed something and I need your help in understanding it.
Can you imagine the change that will take place in your home if you follow these four steps in handling your anger?
What will it take to motivate you to make this shift in anger management? For many parents, it’s the frightening thought that their kids might actually turn out to be like them.
Is is time to learn with your kids how to handle your anger in a constructive way?
For more help in developing good communication skills in your family, I have a 3-session coaching plan that can help you strengthen them. Schedule a free consultation here.