Anger Management Tips for Parents

Reviewed Mar 30, 2018

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Summary

  • Know the "dangerous times."
  • Plan discipline routines ahead of time.
  • Don't touch your child when you're angry.
  • Understand where anger comes from.

No matter how good a parent you are, chances are that from time to time you get angry with your child. Anger is a very human response to the many stresses of parenthood. A human response, but sometimes a harmful one. It can and should be managed.

The best way to stop your anger is to prevent it before it happens. Below are some ways to keep anger out of your home, as recommended in the book When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm Within.

  • Watch for the "dangerous" times. When are you most likely to get annoyed? In the morning when you're tired or after work when you're stressed? Know when your patience will be at its lowest, and avoid stressful interactions with your child.
  • Keep your stress level down. Use relaxation exercises, meditation, music—anything to relax you. When you feel the tension building, take care of yourself right away.
  • Let your child know when you're feeling stressed or grumpy. Your child will learn that these are times to give you a little extra space.
  • Avoid potential disasters when possible. For example, don't allow your child on the new white rug with red juice if you know that a spill will make you furious.
  • Plan discipline routines ahead of time so discipline is not based on spur-of-the-moment anger.
  • Make sure your child knows exactly what's expected of him and exactly what will happen if he breaks the rules. Less confusion leads to less tension for everyone.

No matter how well you plan, though, there may come a time when you boil over. What should you do?

  • Don't touch your child when you're angry. Adrenaline has blocked your reason and strengthened your muscles … a dangerous combination.
  • Don't say too much when you're angry. A bitter rebuke can hurt your child as much as a strike from your hand.
  • Take a time-out. Go somewhere safe to calm down or do something to help you calm down. Read, use your relaxation techniques, listen to music, or go for a walk. Deal with the problem when your blood pressure comes back down.
  • Listen. Did you really hear what your child said or is anger clogging your ears? It may be more a case of misunderstanding than of misbehaving.
  • Get support. Have a friend or family member on standby—someone you can call to talk things through. If you're especially overwhelmed or if that person is not around, call a hotline.

Another way to manage your anger is to understand where it comes from. According to the authors of When Anger Hurts Your Kids: A Parent's Guide, anger at our children often comes from an odd misunderstanding. When our child does something to aggravate us—talks back, spills on the furniture, etc.—something interesting happens in our minds. The child is simply trying to express a basic need ("I'm tired and hungry"), but in the heat of the screaming, we hear a deliberate attack ("This child is trying to ruin my afternoon!"). Feeling we've been wronged, we get defensive and angry.

Learn to hear the child's need instead of the attack, and you'll be able to focus your energy on positive solutions, rather than angry, defensive reactions.

Parental anger, though understandable, is not productive for anyone if left unmanaged. It causes added stress and high blood pressure. Children get hurt emotionally and perhaps physically. Family bonds are torn apart. All this, and anger never solves the original problem. Keeping anger in its proper place takes work, but it's well worth the effort.

Resource

The Anger Workbook: An Interactive Guide to Anger Management by Les Carter and Frank Minirth. Thomas Nelson, 2012. 

By James Rea
Source: When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm Within (second edition) by Matthew McKay, Peter D. Rogers and Judith McKay. New Harbinger Publications, 2003.

Summary

  • Know the "dangerous times."
  • Plan discipline routines ahead of time.
  • Don't touch your child when you're angry.
  • Understand where anger comes from.

No matter how good a parent you are, chances are that from time to time you get angry with your child. Anger is a very human response to the many stresses of parenthood. A human response, but sometimes a harmful one. It can and should be managed.

The best way to stop your anger is to prevent it before it happens. Below are some ways to keep anger out of your home, as recommended in the book When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm Within.

  • Watch for the "dangerous" times. When are you most likely to get annoyed? In the morning when you're tired or after work when you're stressed? Know when your patience will be at its lowest, and avoid stressful interactions with your child.
  • Keep your stress level down. Use relaxation exercises, meditation, music—anything to relax you. When you feel the tension building, take care of yourself right away.
  • Let your child know when you're feeling stressed or grumpy. Your child will learn that these are times to give you a little extra space.
  • Avoid potential disasters when possible. For example, don't allow your child on the new white rug with red juice if you know that a spill will make you furious.
  • Plan discipline routines ahead of time so discipline is not based on spur-of-the-moment anger.
  • Make sure your child knows exactly what's expected of him and exactly what will happen if he breaks the rules. Less confusion leads to less tension for everyone.

No matter how well you plan, though, there may come a time when you boil over. What should you do?

  • Don't touch your child when you're angry. Adrenaline has blocked your reason and strengthened your muscles … a dangerous combination.
  • Don't say too much when you're angry. A bitter rebuke can hurt your child as much as a strike from your hand.
  • Take a time-out. Go somewhere safe to calm down or do something to help you calm down. Read, use your relaxation techniques, listen to music, or go for a walk. Deal with the problem when your blood pressure comes back down.
  • Listen. Did you really hear what your child said or is anger clogging your ears? It may be more a case of misunderstanding than of misbehaving.
  • Get support. Have a friend or family member on standby—someone you can call to talk things through. If you're especially overwhelmed or if that person is not around, call a hotline.

Another way to manage your anger is to understand where it comes from. According to the authors of When Anger Hurts Your Kids: A Parent's Guide, anger at our children often comes from an odd misunderstanding. When our child does something to aggravate us—talks back, spills on the furniture, etc.—something interesting happens in our minds. The child is simply trying to express a basic need ("I'm tired and hungry"), but in the heat of the screaming, we hear a deliberate attack ("This child is trying to ruin my afternoon!"). Feeling we've been wronged, we get defensive and angry.

Learn to hear the child's need instead of the attack, and you'll be able to focus your energy on positive solutions, rather than angry, defensive reactions.

Parental anger, though understandable, is not productive for anyone if left unmanaged. It causes added stress and high blood pressure. Children get hurt emotionally and perhaps physically. Family bonds are torn apart. All this, and anger never solves the original problem. Keeping anger in its proper place takes work, but it's well worth the effort.

Resource

The Anger Workbook: An Interactive Guide to Anger Management by Les Carter and Frank Minirth. Thomas Nelson, 2012. 

By James Rea
Source: When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm Within (second edition) by Matthew McKay, Peter D. Rogers and Judith McKay. New Harbinger Publications, 2003.

Summary

  • Know the "dangerous times."
  • Plan discipline routines ahead of time.
  • Don't touch your child when you're angry.
  • Understand where anger comes from.

No matter how good a parent you are, chances are that from time to time you get angry with your child. Anger is a very human response to the many stresses of parenthood. A human response, but sometimes a harmful one. It can and should be managed.

The best way to stop your anger is to prevent it before it happens. Below are some ways to keep anger out of your home, as recommended in the book When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm Within.

  • Watch for the "dangerous" times. When are you most likely to get annoyed? In the morning when you're tired or after work when you're stressed? Know when your patience will be at its lowest, and avoid stressful interactions with your child.
  • Keep your stress level down. Use relaxation exercises, meditation, music—anything to relax you. When you feel the tension building, take care of yourself right away.
  • Let your child know when you're feeling stressed or grumpy. Your child will learn that these are times to give you a little extra space.
  • Avoid potential disasters when possible. For example, don't allow your child on the new white rug with red juice if you know that a spill will make you furious.
  • Plan discipline routines ahead of time so discipline is not based on spur-of-the-moment anger.
  • Make sure your child knows exactly what's expected of him and exactly what will happen if he breaks the rules. Less confusion leads to less tension for everyone.

No matter how well you plan, though, there may come a time when you boil over. What should you do?

  • Don't touch your child when you're angry. Adrenaline has blocked your reason and strengthened your muscles … a dangerous combination.
  • Don't say too much when you're angry. A bitter rebuke can hurt your child as much as a strike from your hand.
  • Take a time-out. Go somewhere safe to calm down or do something to help you calm down. Read, use your relaxation techniques, listen to music, or go for a walk. Deal with the problem when your blood pressure comes back down.
  • Listen. Did you really hear what your child said or is anger clogging your ears? It may be more a case of misunderstanding than of misbehaving.
  • Get support. Have a friend or family member on standby—someone you can call to talk things through. If you're especially overwhelmed or if that person is not around, call a hotline.

Another way to manage your anger is to understand where it comes from. According to the authors of When Anger Hurts Your Kids: A Parent's Guide, anger at our children often comes from an odd misunderstanding. When our child does something to aggravate us—talks back, spills on the furniture, etc.—something interesting happens in our minds. The child is simply trying to express a basic need ("I'm tired and hungry"), but in the heat of the screaming, we hear a deliberate attack ("This child is trying to ruin my afternoon!"). Feeling we've been wronged, we get defensive and angry.

Learn to hear the child's need instead of the attack, and you'll be able to focus your energy on positive solutions, rather than angry, defensive reactions.

Parental anger, though understandable, is not productive for anyone if left unmanaged. It causes added stress and high blood pressure. Children get hurt emotionally and perhaps physically. Family bonds are torn apart. All this, and anger never solves the original problem. Keeping anger in its proper place takes work, but it's well worth the effort.

Resource

The Anger Workbook: An Interactive Guide to Anger Management by Les Carter and Frank Minirth. Thomas Nelson, 2012. 

By James Rea
Source: When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm Within (second edition) by Matthew McKay, Peter D. Rogers and Judith McKay. New Harbinger Publications, 2003.

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