How can I control my anger when I get frustrated and stressed by my kids?

Few relationships can produce more challenges and frustrations than the parent-child relationship. What can we do when love and anger collide in the family? Here are some parenting tips.


Answer:

Even the most loving parents will experience anger every now and then toward their children. However, uncontrolled anger can affect your ability to make good decisions as well as maintain a positive relationship with your son or daughter.

Allowing yourself to "blow up" at your child can be very harmful if it occurs repeatedly. In your anger, you may say things that frighten your child or affect his or her self-esteem, or you could even physically harm him or her. Uncontrolled anger also provides an inappropriate role model for your child by teaching him or her that anger outbursts are acceptable.

It can be difficult to control yourself when you become angry. However, the Bible tells us that a wise person maintains self-control. Proverbs:29:11 states, "A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back." Also, Ecclesiastes:7:9 says, "Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools."

What can we do when we get mad at our kids? Below are several parenting tips that will assist us in managing our anger.

Pause for a moment.

When you feel yourself becoming angry, it is wise to pause before you say or do anything. This pause could consist of merely taking a deep breath or slowly counting to 10. Pausing can help you to address the situation calmly instead of in a fit of anger.

During this pause quickly think about the circumstances and try to determine what is really happening. Is your anger a reaction to your child's behavior? Or is something else bothering you such as work stress, tiredness or other problems? Has your son or daughter intentionally tried to hurt or disobey you, or is his or her behavior typical for a child of that age? Is this your problem, your child's problem or both?

Take a parental or child time-out.

In situations where you are very angry, realize that it will take some time to cool off. Time-outs model an appropriate way to handle anger. It can be good for your child to see you get angry and demonstrate a socially acceptable way to deal with these feelings.

You may even tell your child that "Mother is angry and needs a time-out." Don't tell your child that you are angry because he or she is stupid or bad, for such labeling is not healthy for your child's self-esteem. Your time-out could even involve stress-reducing activities such as walking, punching a pillow in private, taking a bath or talking to your spouse or a friend about the situation.

Instead of a parental time-out, you may also opt for a time-out for your child as part of his or her punishment. While your son or daughter is sitting in the corner, you will also have time to cool off and decide the best course of action.

Resolve to never strike your child in anger.

Never discipline your kids when you are angry and unable to control your feelings. While spanking in an appropriate manner is supported in Scripture, it is unwise to spank your child while you are angry. You could accidentally bruise him or her by spanking too hard. This could lead to your child being taken from your home by social services.

If at any time you feel the urge to strike your child, get out of the room as soon as possible. If your child is too young to leave alone for a few minutes, be sure to put him or her in the crib or a playpen or have someone else watch your child. Older children should just be told that you are angry and need a time-out. Stay away until you have calmed down. Pray for God to help you to control your anger and respond in a godly manner.

Form plans for how you will react.

Determine how you want to respond to your child or the problem. Your plan should take into account what you want him or her to learn from this, as well as how to prevent this misbehavior from happening again.

If your child has been told that he or she would be punished for this misbehavior, it is important that you follow through with your word. Children need to learn that there are consequences to their actions. If you have not set formal rules for this misbehavior, plan how you will do it now. Put together a list of family rules, and state the consequences for not following the rules. You may want to consult various parenting books for ideas about methods of discipline that may prove to be effective for your child.

Act and don't react to the situation.

After you have cooled off, analyzed the situation and determined the best plan of action, it is time to act. Your actions must be calm and loving. If you punish your child, be sure that you also explain exactly why he or she is receiving a punishment. As always, tell your child that the discipline is to help him or her and is a consequence of his or her misbehavior.

To raise an emotionally well-developed child, it is important to show unconditional love. For example, tell your son or daughter, "I still love you, even though I am now angry about your misbehavior." It is also important to hug your child and reassure him or her after you have punished him or her for misbehaving.

Anger is a God-given emotion. It can even be used to correct wrong or evil and set things right, as in the case where Christ was angry (Matthew:21:12-14). But God also tells us, "A quick-tempered man acts foolishly" (Proverbs:14:17).

The relationship that you have with your children can be one of life's greatest blessings. If you want to be wise in your responsibility of caring for them, learn to manage your anger. You both will be happier when you are in control of your emotions.

Linda LaBissoniere, M.Ed., licensed counselor


Dara Schneider

Dara Schneider's picture

I know this article is addressed for raising children. Being a great grandmom I've been one to wear the shoes of discipline/anger/frustration through the years. Now that I'm the primary caregiver for my husband, I'm finding I need a lot of emotional control again. I stop quite often and ask God to help me. It's a very stressful situation as his health declines. One day after almost begging for relief I remember the scriptures about giving food and drink as giving it to God. It comforted and settled me down. One doesn't want to hurt the one you've spent over 50 year with. Perhaps you have some pointers that may help? Please know how very much your information is appreciated. Sincerely, Gram Dara Schneider




MaryL

MaryL's picture

Dear Dara:

I signed up for this site, just so I could answer you. God bless you! You are a strong, loving, caring woman. I learned from you. So, I know that the answers you seek are already written by God on your heart. Your meek, loving, worry would touch the heart of any human, it must touch God's own heart.

I raise a mentally retarded 4 year old and a mentally ill 15 year old all at the age of 54. I was on the internet looking for answers to my own frustration and my own seeking help from God, but not really knowing how to receive help from Him. Your letter taught me more than anything else I have read tonight.

You are relying on God. You are humble. You are motivated by love. You remembered that when we serve anyone else, we are truly serving God. We are taking Him the cool drink, we are taking Him the food. We are answering His cries. You are far wiser than you think you are. Rather than get an answer, you yourself gave one.

Its easy to grow weary in doing good. It is. I wonder, are you feeding yourself? Are you resting? Are you drinking water often? Have you asked others to help you? When my brother died, the neighbors, the church, the boy scouts .. so many came to his rescue. Its ok to seek and receive help. Its ok to take care of yourself so you don't grow weary. Its ok to remember your own humanity. Its ok to remember Jesus loves you as much as He does your ailing husband of so many years.

God bless you Gram Dara. Be still and remember He IS. He is the great I am. He sees you, hears you and is with you. May you feel lifted by Him. Thank you for blessing me with your story.

Mary



Login/Register to post comments

More Information

This post has favorited 1 times

Ask a Question

Ask a Question

Printer-friendly version

Got a question?  If you don't see your question here, ask our team of caring, dedicated ministers for a personal answer. (Please allow a week or so for an e-mail response.)

9 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

© 1995-2014 United Church of God, an International Association | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All correspondence and questions should be sent to info@ucg.org. Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to webmaster@ucg.org.



X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading