‘Duh-ap!’ went the massage oil bottle.
My overactive, sort-of-fidgety and ever curious son whipped out his tiny hand to catch hold of the bottle and down went the bottle with all the oil on the floor.
It angered and maddened me like a bull as the bottle was new and full of oil and was rather expensive. My first reaction?
I bubbled with anger at my less-than-a-year old son for his useless act. I shot words at him and shouted my lungs off.
He gave me, for about half-a-minute, an absolutely lost look and since he didn’t understand even a word of what I said to him, he smiled. He smiled the cutest smile of the world which truly speaking, left me embarrassed.
The angry bird on my inside felt wet as if drowned by chilled water and I felt stupid about the thoughtless and heartless reaction I gave. I started saying to myself that, “He is just a child and this is exactly what childhood is meant for.” He doesn’t know the consequences of spilling oil on the floor and that’s how all babies and kids are.
The day passed and my husband came back from work. I told him about the incident. His reaction shook me even more and forced me to take a second look at it.
He simply said, “Do you really think it was his fault? You shouldn’t have kept such an expensive bottle within his reach, in the first place.”
Since that day, I realized the wrongfulness of the attitude I had and resolved to not let my mouth work faster than my mind and keep my anger under check, at least when with my kid.
Anger management simply means managing anger.
But, ‘managing stuffs is easy’ said no one ever, and so isn’t anger management.
Signs that tell you that your anger needs to be managed
- You get angry often and are irritated at most times of the day.
- 9 out of 10 times, your kid is the reason for your anger.
- You worsen the situation when fuming, despite trying hard to control it.
- You resort to methods like spanking your child, abandoning him temporarily or use foul language to vent out your feelings.
Questions to ask yourself
- How can I use my temper for a good cause?
- Is my tough mood benefiting me in any way?
- Is my anger harming my kid and if yes, in which way?
- Would losing temper often make my child dislike me?
- What message am I sending across by getting angry on my kid?
Let me share with you my observations related to anger and its management with respect to kids and let me know your views on the same.
Hit the bull’s eye
By hitting the bull’s eye I mean looking for the true reason behind your getting angry. This will help you sort the problem in a moment. Most of the times, the real cause of the problem is not what we think it is and when we get the answer, it is usually strong enough to calm down our anger.
Eg. Your daughter throwing her shoes and socks in four different places around the room, could make you angry not because she did so, but because it would unknowingly signal your brain that you have failed as a mother to inculcate good habits in her. You need to help yourself settle with the fact that you have been a good mother to your child and it is just her carefree or careless attitude as a child that makes her do this.
Putting yourself in your kid’s shoes
Have you ever imagined what would happen if your partner gets angry at you, uses foul language, locks you up in a dark room or doesn’t talk to you for days?
Got goose bumps?
They’ll worsen when I remind you that your partner is the one whom you depend on totally for support, love, food, money, protection and everything else that is needed to run a smooth life. These uncomfortable feelings are exactly what your child experiences when you get angry at her. You are the only person in her world whom she can depend on and you being angry at her is like a living hell to her.
Trust me, dealing with your anger, does get scary for such a young individual who is not even independent enough to make her own judgments. So, make sure you understand her feelings and put yourself on the other side when your get angry on her.
Eg. Your son is trying to build a house out of play dough and is failing even after repeated attempts. He gets agitated at the dough and just bangs the tiny bucket of dough on the floor dirtying your beautiful carpet. Instead of getting angry at him for having done that to the carpet, try to understand his feelings of having failed at doing something and attend to him with love and support.
Spanking is not cool
Did your boss ever spank you for not sending a mail, not finishing a particular task or for not attending a meeting? He didn’t, because as your manager, he is supposed to act in a wise and matured manner and knows that spanking you is not the solution at all.
So, if you are a wise and understanding parent then the same thought should sink deep into your psyche that spanking did no one any good ever. It only leaves a deep negative impact, a mental scar, on the kid’s tender and highly sensitive mind tarnishing it for life with feelings of fear and sorrow.
Barking dogs seldom bite
Getting angry too often can make your child used to seeing you like that and may dilute the effect of your angry self altogether. She may stop taking you seriously and that would then become another concern overshadowing your anger issues. So, beware!
Firstly, your anger should not cross its limits, and even if it does, it should happen only rarely.
Safe ways to vent out your anger
- Get to an isolated place and shout out all your anger. Get into your car, roll up the windows and SCREAM!
- Go out in the open and look at the sky. Count till ten and wait for your anger to dissipate.
- Write all your thoughts in a journal and get rid of them.
- Try to divert your mind by getting involved in a task of your choice.
- Go to sleep.
- Hug your kid tight and say to yourself, “ I have resolved not to get angry for my little one’s sake”.
- Go out for a walk and give yourself a break.
- Breathe deeply and count till 20.
Closing thoughts on being a better parent
One thing to do for sure after you are done with your bout of anger is ‘talk to your child’. Never isolate the child because of your anger and attitude. It can have a very long-lasting and depressing impact on the child.
Speak up your mind and sort the problem. Very lovingly ask your child, “why did you write on the walls”; “why didn’t you tell me you’re going out?”, “why did you throw the food in the trash can?” or as in my case, ask the question to yourself, find an answer and fix the problem.
Remove the oil bottle from the place that’s within your child’s reach, keep an eye on your child’s activity, make sure she doesn’t lie to you, try to explain to her the reason why you stop her from doing certain things and so on.
Always remember, that your kids might make it difficult for you to be the parent you always imagined you would be, but getting angry at them, won’t let you be that either.
If you enjoyed reading this, you’d wanna know how to raise a mindful, calm and creative kid.