Are struggling with parenting anger? Do you blow up at your kids when you know deep down that it’s not the right way to teach and guide them? Do you get frustrated at them when you have to say things over and over to get them to respond?
Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get a handle on your parenting anger and if that’s the case, then I have a plan to help you achieve that goal.
The only way to beat parenting anger is to work on strengthening your patience. I like to think of patience as a muscle that must be exercised and strengthened. It takes consistency and persistence to keep exercising those muscles if you want to see them develop. Think STRONG.
Seek to Understand. Remind yourself when your kids come home from school and grumble instead of answering, or they return from little league practice sullen and take it out on you. There is always a WHY behind their WHAT. It’s your job to seek to understand what is behind their behavior and first address the root problem, not the outward behavior.
Train yourself to listen. Parents are good at talking and trying to fix kids with their words and lectures, so it sometimes goes against their grain to listen first. There’s a verse in the Bible that says we should be quick to listen and slow to speak. What does being quick to listen actually look like?
- It means letting your child finish sentences without interrupting them.
- It means letting your child express emotions and feelings without correcting or judging.
- It sometimes means letting your child direct the conversation.
- It means letting your child know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are listening: showing through your eyes and your body language.
- It means being slow to speak and thinking about how your words will sound to your kids.
Reconsider your words. Will your words help with a solution or simply make you feel better because you have vented or gotten something off your chest? So much of parenting is reactive, saying whatever our anger prompts us to say in the moment. Venting is not effective parenting. Think about the words you want to use, instead of saying the first thing that comes out of your mouth.
Strive to have an outlook adjustment. This means parenting with the bigger picture in mind. Ask yourself this question: Do you parent for today or for tomorrow?
Parenting for today means that you are doing what’s easiest, quickest, cheapest in your parenting. You are only focused on surviving today and do not give much thought to what type of people you want your children to become.
Parenting for tomorrow, on the other hand, means that you are working to instill character in your kids that will make them the type of adults you want them to become. As you look towards tomorrow, ask yourself, “What type of adults do we wait to raise?” Then keep that goal in mind each day as you parent.
Navigate a breather.
Whatever it takes for you to calm down, do it. Deep breathing, counting to 10, sending your child to his or her room. I guarantee that what you say in anger and what you say when calm will be two different things.
Your goal is not just to “punish” your child for doing wrong, but to help them understand why their behavior was wrong and how it affects others around them. Sometimes giving yourself a few minutes to think that through will allow you to truly teach your child, not just correct them in the moment.
Give yourself grace. You will always make mistakes as a parent. So either you can dwell on those missteps and beat yourself up, or you think about what you should do differently next time. Feeling guilty without purposing how to do better and change your response is meaningless shame. It will produce no results or solutions and only cause you personal anxiety over everything you are doing wrong.
Two Key Questions
As you deal with your child, train your brain to ask yourself two very important questions:
What does my child need to learn in this situation?
What is the best way for me to help them learn it?
If you can let those two questions guide you, you will take a huge step towards nipping your parenting anger in the bud and actually handling the situation in a way that helps your child grow and develop in a healthy way. If this is a real struggle for you, let’s talk. Schedule a free call here.