7 Tips for parents to control angry Outbursts
Created by Gaurima Updated on Dec 21, 2021
The increasing complexity of contemporary modern living constantly being fueled by unending tasks on to-do lists, social commitments, managing household, entertainment pulls, elaborate demands of childrearing and much more are proving to be stressful for majority of us. Moreover the new-gen parenting empower kids at a very early age to fight for their own rights and listen to their own-self, which is apt but challenging for parents to tackle when children play irresponsible or would not take the parent’s authority seriously.
A few days back one of my close friends Nisha called me up to discuss certain issues that were bothering her. She is a mother of a nine year old girl, Ahaana, who according to her is very stubborn and argumentative. My friend shared that off late she felt helpless since nothing seemed to be working and it was resulting in angry outbursts towards Ahaana.
She was further concerned that most of the times she found herself standing at a tipping point where she felt highly driven to act aggressively the moment Ahaana did not pay heed to her. While she understood that her angry demeanor was impacting their relationship, she desperately wanted to change the situation. Oh!! How she wished for some formula to control her rage before going overboard with it.
Parents often feel overwhelmed so much so that they unwittingly resort to anger as a quick-fix tool to manage children. However, many smart parents recognize that this un-friendly trend is potentially destructive to their relationship with kids and are adopting ways to manage their fiery emotions just at the right moment before causing any harm to parent-child bond or to child’s self esteem.
To find tried and tested conflict resolution tricks for parents was the main goal behind this article, and after some deep discussions around the issue I could collate 8 ways that could save fellow parents from losing control and impulsively venting anger at kids, hoping that you may find these useful:
1. Distancing from the situation: This is the most common approach followed by parents successfully. A friend of mine and mother of two elementary school children affirmed that at times, when the kids behavior seems extremely frustrating, irritating and exasperating to say the least, it can be life saving to walk off from the situation or asking kids to leave for a few minutes. Spending some time off from each other gives time to cool off and think about the situation rationally. Getting back on the same issues after cooling off mostly results in deepened mutual understanding and amicable resolutions.
2. Following a ritual: A father of a teenager shared that he successfully manages anger driven situations by following a self-made ritual. Whenever he finds himself in a wrestling ring (disagreement) with his son, he asks his son to fetch a water bottle from the kitchen. During the time when the son is off, this father vividly visualizes happy memories from his son’s childhood and within half a minute his anger evaporates and he finds himself in a better position to talk with his exasperated teenager.
Some parents who needs a bit more help in visualization shared that , checking the I-pad quickly for the family pictures helped them transition to happier times faster, counting backwards silently or simply silently chanting a mantra helped them clam themselves.
3. Questioning: A mother of 15 year old girl discovered that putting everything on a pause for a few seconds and asking questions to her own self at the moment when she is just about to explode targeting her child helped her a lot. The question that she asks herself more often than not is – Who am I? She warmly shared that naturally the answer that comes up always is – She is a loving, compassionate, understanding, caring and supporting parent. After getting the answer she stay with it for a minute and sees the whole situation in a new light and almost always conversation does not turn into nasty arguments.
A few more questions that parents have shared are – What are my assumptions about my child, about the issue? Am I overtly generalizing, exaggerating, over reacting? Am I attributing over importance to the situation.
Questions that may help a child with self realization: Another mother discovered that just before any angry bombardment at her children, she would ask her child questions like – Why would you choose to do this? Do you know how it impacts me (parent)? Can you think of some other way of expressing/ behaving? What do you think triggers my (parents) anger? More often than not the child gets clarity around the issue and comes up with a proactive response.
4. Using Visual Reminders: A father confessed that he is someone who carries his temper in his hat and so his kids, 10 year old son and 14 year old daughter are often in the range of firing (angry tirade) over mundane issues. He disclosed that in each room he has put a poster to serve as timely reminder to check his anger. The poster display messages like “No Shouting Zone”, “SMILE PLEASE ”, “Save JOY kill anger” in bold. He confessed that countless time he had returned just before the point of no return by following the practice of throwing his glance at the poster when in an uncontrollable situation. I am sure this idea can be used in many ways depending on the parent’s interest and creativity.
5. Acknowledging anger verbally: A mother of two children aged 9 years and 4 years informed that at those times when she is madly angry with any of her children, she acknowledges her extreme displeasure and anger verbally in a non-threatening way. She voices her feelings at that moment She acknowledged that after stating her feelings conspicuously she feels much calmer and receptive to understand child’s point of view. The simplicity of this approach can be misleading about its effectiveness, but this approach has achieved fast results according to some parents. At the same time many parents have suggested that encouraging children to do the same exercise also work wonders.
6. How angry are you? - express it: Another approach that works fantastically well when both parent and child are seething in anger is to tone down anger by measuring it. To put it simply a father of a 10 year old girl explained that when he and his daughter are at logger heads, he asks her to show how angry is she either by drawing, writing, punching pillows and the likes and he also has to do the same. Then it’s up to each one of them to share their creativity with each other or not. More often than not this exercise leads to hilarious outcome and sets the stage for peaceful discussion. More importantly the angry art work hence made is worth cherishing as something true from the heart ;0)
7. Empowering the child: A friend of mine and a mother of two lovely kids aged 3 and 7 revealed an exciting idea to get the parent back from the trip to fury land just in time. Her approach involves educating the child about extreme anger and its harmful consequences. The clincher is that she has made a rule that whenever she or anyone in the house is caught venting anger inappropriately will be pointed out immediately and will have to choose one of the decided ways to express angry emotions like (writing, drawing and recording the message to name a few). Following this practice as a routine has helped her children become very responsible and watchful of inappropriate words and ways of expression.
Even though these ideas don’t promise to work as a magic pill yet they are proactive ways to be in control of the challenging anger inflated situations between a parent and a child. When the parent is determined to not to let anger come in between him/her and his/her children such approaches come in handy. To make them work a parent may have to try a couple of them and consciously adopt one or two to orchestrate parent-child relationships as melodious tunes to be cherished for the lifetime.
| Jul 24, 2013
I am sure there has been at least one time or more when we have a really rude angry monster coming out of us shouting at our kid and then you realise what are you doing, is this me .your article is very good, we all can control our angry emotions at the right time and bring about a more positive outcome to conversations with our children.
| Jul 25, 2013
I believe anger management is one technique which is difficult to practice especially when we have soft targets in front of us such as kids. Secondly we tend to believe that as parents we know their best, we tend to cross our limits in keeping our point of view by sometimes even yelling, shouting or even slapping. In this process we forget that we are hurting the very being for whom we declare that we know the best. Thirdly in a way we take advantage of the fact that child has no one other than parents as their primary caregivers so he/ she will return to us no matter how we behave. So although difficult yet not impossible to practice all parents should learn anger management techniques for the best interest of the child whom we love and care for and for ourselves too.