“I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.”
“Angry feelings do not vanish when banished…Failure to get angry at certain moments indicates indifference, not love. Those who love cannot avoid anger” – Dr Haim Ginott
Conceal don’t feel!
As beautifully demonstrated by Elsa, the idea of concealing and not feeling leads to a moment, big or small, of letting go! Anger has a purpose and is a decent human emotion that needs to be understood.
How to Handle Anger
- Accept that anger is here to stay.
- We are entitled to these feelings without regret, guilt or shame.
- We are entitled to express these feelings with one rule. Never insult another’s personality or character.
- Do – describe what you feel. Describe what you see. Describe what needs to be done.
- Understand what is triggering your anger – injustice or fear.
- Become aware of your fears and take the time to address them.
Just to be clear when talking about controlling anger in this section, it is a given that it is never acceptable to physically, mentally or emotionally abuse a child…or anyone for that matter!
It is important to be careful about who (your child may not be the right person to hear it), when and how to express anger.
It is also important to know what triggers the anger. There may be a genuine problem that needs addressing. A continuing injustice happening e.g. a child stealing another child’s dinner everyday would be a continuing injustice. These kinds of things should be addressed through family rules and should never be expressed in way that would insult a child. The second is a reaction to fear. The situation may be the same but the trigger may be different. For example when a child steals another child’s dinner, a parent may fear that the child will end up a thief. In this case anger has been described as a mask. Often it is our deep fears that we may never have verbalized or be fully aware of that triggers anger. Another example, perhaps we get angry when we see a child waste food. When we feel that anger we need to ask ourselves, what is it that we are really upset about? Are we concerned about the food that is wasted because of the environment, or is it that we are worried about our child’s eating habits and health, or our financial situation etc. When we understand what has triggered our angry feeling then we know what it is that needs to be verbalized.
The following two articles from Dr Markham are really helpful.
Dr Shefali explain the importance of, and the way to discover and address your fears. It takes time and honesty with yourself to discover what your fears are. Once you know what they are you can begin to face and overcome those fears so that they are no longer a trigger for you. Making this effort will free you to be able to enjoy parenting more as well as freeing your child from your anxiety and fears.