Frustration and anger can be a big problem for parents. But parents are only human. First, we need to understand where our anger comes from. Here are some ideas;
— Lack of training for a 24-hour-a-day job. Parents are thrust into this job with no training, no mentor, no “manual.”
— Children have free will. You cannot make children eat, sleep, listen, move, say please, or go potty.
— Our expectations often differ from reality.
— Life makes us angry and we take it out on our children.
— Anger masks other emotions.
The following is a four-step process for handling anger:
— Recognize the anger. Stop, breathe, count. Recognize the physical feelings of tensing up, etc. Say “Stop! I am getting angry.”
— Put space between you and your child. “Stop! I’m angry. I’m going to my room; I’ll be out in 10 minutes.” (Nothing is ever solved in a fit of anger. You need to get control of yourself first.) Separate, calm down, and then come back and teach. Don’t escalate the anger by thinking negative thoughts; use the time to move your mind off the problem — count, do deep breathing, etc.
— Adjust expectations. What’s normal and realistic? I may not be happy, but if it is reasonable behavior for this age and this situation, you can understand what’s going on rather than losing sight of reality.
— Use skill. Decide what you are going to do. What steps are you going to take? Which of my skills am I going to use to solve this problem? Once you have calmed down and made a plan, then you can emerge with a different perspective and be much more positive and productive and effective.
This information was taken from Elizabeth Pantley’s “Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging, and Pleading, and Let Kids Cooperate.”
Here are some fun things to do with your children.
— Make gifts and deliver to elderly family members.
— Plan and plant a garden together.
— Volunteer together for a community organization.
— Visit the library for story time.
For more information, contact Cathy L. Graham, County Extension director with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 910-671-3276, by email at Cathy_Graham@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.