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Catching the Anger Before it Spills Out On Your Children

answered 08:06 PM EST, Tue March 12, 2013
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anonymous anonymous
I am kind of a quick tempered person. I have two children, a boy who is 6 and a girl who is 4. I was always scared of my dad who was the family disciplinarian and I never wanted to walk in his footsteps with my own children but I can see that they are scared of me because I am quick to get angry and, as my wife will always tell me, what is worst is that my anger is unpredictable and seems to come out of nowhere. I often feel regret after yelling at my children for being too harsh but regret’s not very helpful since I can’t stop at the heat of the moment. I do not use corporal punishment at least. I am willing to change but not sure how to start. I want a happy family not a scared and dysfunctional one.

David Johnson Says...

I commend you for your courage in facing your anger issue. Parenting is THE most difficult job we will ever face, largely because we care so much for our children, our emotions are always involved at peak levels. Managing and making sense of them is very difficult and important.

First of all, your unpredictable anger does indeed come from somewhere. It will take detailed self-exploration that requires several sessions with a psychotherapist. Consider bringing your wife along. You may find things will go much quicker with her help.

Here is an example of the sorts of things you may learn about yourself. Anger in men often reflects underlying feelings of vulnerability. Boys are often shamed for vulnerable feelings because it is thought they aren't manly. They often compensate by adopting anger as their favorite feeling, an manly emotion of strength. Perhaps you are afraid of how your children will grow up. Perhaps you worry their behavior has to shape up quickly before they head off to school or they will find their future compromised. Perhaps you see some of your less desirable traits in your children and worry your children will suffer like you did. So you become excessively persistent and insistent to squelch out the offending behaviors. Or perhaps you are simply overwhelmed with their age appropriate behavior. All you want is peace and quite after a long stressful day at work.

Whatever the underlying issue is, you must ferret it out and learn to address it appropriately. You will learn that your angry behavior can be controlled. Your belief and fear that you can't control it makes it beyond your reach. It will take lots of practice and a willingness to look yourself in the mirror unflinchingly to master your anger. Once you learn what feelings underlie your anger and you begin to master the "heat of the moment," you will discover some concrete ways to address and express your feelings by learning new skills and expanding your knowledge of child care.

You will also learn to listen to your children, understand how to respectfully address their concerns as well as your own, and negotiate a win win solution.

I wish you all the best!
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Page last updated Mar 12, 2013

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