By Lori Freson, MA, MFT
Are you an angry parent? Unfortunately, parenting a child doesn’t come with a handbook called “How to Parent”. Disciplining children is one of the most exhausting and overwhelming things you will ever do. And since you are human, sometimes you will get angry and just lose it. It happens to all of us. But parenting when you’re angry is never a good idea. Haven’t you ever noticed that the more intense your anger gets, the worse your children’s behavior becomes? Kids react to the angry parent.
Children know how to push our buttons, which is precisely why it’s incredibly important to learn how to manage your anger. Here are 7 Anger Management Techniques to think about with child discipline:
1. Give yourself a break. You are human, and therefore experience a wide range of emotions, even towards your own kids. One of those feelings sometimes is anger. It’s ok.
2. Try, try, try not to take the bait. Your child will undoubtedly throw out some zinger comment that he knows will get you riled up. Don’t let it…if you do, he will know that he has control over you and will continue this behavior endlessly.
3. Disengage. That means take a step a back. Sometimes we’ve taken the bait before we even realize it’s happened. So stop…take a deep breath, and reassess what is going on. Walk away if you need to. Sometimes it is necessary so that things don’t continue to escalate. Come back when you feel calm and collected.
4. Use your words to communicate clearly what is going on. For example, “I’m very angry right now. I’ve asked you three times to put your toys away, and you haven’t done it. It’s very frustrating for me when I have to say things over and over before you listen. And when I’m angry and frustrated, I tend to yell.”
5. Take better care of yourself. When you are tired, stressed, and hungry, your patience and tolerance will be low, and you will find yourself snapping at everyone. Get some sleep, eat a healthy meal, and take a walk or a run.
6. Let it go. I know it’s hard…but you need to learn to let go of what’s already happened…that’s in the past. Move on from it, or one little problem in the morning can ruin your entire day.
7. ASK FOR HELP! There is nothing wrong with asking for help from a spouse, family member, friend, or babysitter. We’ve all been there. Nobody can do any job 24/7 without a break from time to time. Take one. You deserve it.
About Lori Freson MA, MFT
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Southern California. I’ve been working in the mental health field since 1997, and have been a licensed therapist since 2002. I currently work in my own thriving private practice in Encino, where I serve the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles areas.