How Parents Can Express Anger Without Damaging Emotional Health

We have been discussing anger, shame and violence. We have most recently been addressing how parents can prevent speaking a spiraling set of angry messages that would  leave  significant scars on the emotional health of their child. Yes, parents can express anger in a healthy way.

A method to express anger in a healthy way

Children are egocentric, immature and impulsive by nature.

Children are egocentric, immature and impulsive by nature. For parents, those characteristics present a formula for intense frustration and anger that is often legitimate. Yet, our children are particularly impressionable.  Because of childrens’ vulnerability, parents need to be cautious in the messages they send not to deliver excessive shame, toxic to the lives of their children.

Let’s take a look at a method to help any parent with frustration or anger. Here are a few steps that form a good strategy for anger-expression.

  1. Repeat your calming statement as much as you need. (“I am really, really angry and I will be able to control myself.”)
  2. Describe the situation objectively. (“I see my book that I had put on the desk to save my seat has been thrown on the floor.”)
  3. Send I-Messages that identify trigger(s). (“I am angry because I was here first, and I know that everyone uses books to save a seat.”)
  4. Send an I-Message to yourself that gives you perspective. (“I know some kids don’t think before they do things.”)
  5. Decide outcome direction. (“After I calm down, I need to decide if it is worth it to make a big deal of this,” or “I first need to calm down and then see if I can discuss this with the person in a fair and respectful way.”)
  6. Review your process. Ask yourself:
  • “How well did I do?”
  • “What do I need to do differently?”
  • “What do I give myself credit for?”
  • “What has been the outcome?”

The anger vibe

But I don't like vegetables...
Use the method (and examples) here to remind you that you can and do have the ability to manage your anger and create healthy, well-disciplined children.

Frustration and anger sometimes can unintentionally eek out of us. Most often, those ways are truly not healthy for our children.

Having a plan to encourage, discuss or provide effective discipline for your children is helpful to both parents and children. Use the method (and examples) here to remind you that you can and do have the ability to manage your anger and create healthy, well-disciplined children.

I do hope you are able gain some new perspectives and have well-considered responses ready for your children when you are asked. Your intentionality is a gift to them that creates healthy dynamics within your family.

Thank you for reading my post today.

Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

Information taken from Preventing Violence through Effective Discipline, 2006, Diane Wagenhals. Licensed Materials. All rights reserved.

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