Local Mom Scoop is excited to have Sofia Robirosa, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services contributing to Local Mom Scoop.
She has this knack for always writing about relatable parenting topics that I’m going through and I’m sure most parents are going through.
By Sofia Robirosa
Generally speaking, anger is not a desired feeling. And for parents, anger generally causes feelings of guilt… after the fact. We have all been there, haven’t we? The moment your child keeps going, and going, and going…. leaving us, with what feels, the only resort of getting mad. And so the yelling begins….
The question that I get many times is: “How do I stop the anger?” Well, instead of getting rid of it, how about using it? Yes, I am suggesting for you to use anger as a parenting tool.
Anger is a feeling, and feelings are there to give us information about a situation. When one gets angry, the purpose of the feeling is to let us know that we find a situation to be unfair, or rude, basically a personal boundary has not been respected. So, our “buttons get pushed” as a warning to stop the person from continuing to be unfair or rude.
The options of stopping an adult from disrespecting a boundary are: We either address the person directly, indirectly, or cut the person off, or some variation of these alternatives. Between adults, the options appear to be common sense, right?
For children, the options need to be different. Here are 4 steps to using your anger effectively to parent your child:
Practice being in tune with your feelings. Awareness of how anger physically feels can become the catalyst to avoid the bursts of anger.
Ask yourself what life lesson does your child need to learn. For example: If you feel angry because you have asked your child to sit down and do homework, the lesson your child might need to learn is how to complete responsibilities before having fun.
Directly telling your child that you are angry (direct), yelling at them (indirect), ignoring them (cutting them off), will probably result in your children continuing the same unfair and rude behavior.
So when you feel angry toward your children, because they are taking advantage of you, making you work harder than them, talking back, not listening, or disobeying rules, the difference is that the anger is telling you that your child needs a life lesson to stop being unfair or rude. That is how anger is useful! As you feel that anger might start creeping up, ask yourself: What do I need to teach my child?
Craft a way to implement the life lesson, such as contemplating the use of natural consequences, logical consequences, or positive parenting techniques.
Find a way to release any negative feelings that were not directed to your child. This could be talking to your significant other about the event.
It is definitely the high road. It will take time to get in touch with your feelings and use them to guide your parenting effectively. Yelling sometimes ends the misbehavior quickly and provides temporary relief, but is it making permanent changes in your child? And what about that yucky feeling of guilt after yelling?
So yes, you are allowed to be human and feel anger. By finding purpose in the things we like the least in our lives, in this case anger, they loose power and create the space for new solutions.
Your Therapy Friend,
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