Your world can change in an instant when you get angry. You’re sitting there with a great cup of coffee when your kids run into the room screaming and pushing each other… for the fifth time that morning. Welcome! You’ve entered Angry Land!
Sadly, when we go to Angry Land we speak a different language. We may not go so far as all-out profanity, but our words are heavily accented with sarcasm, impatience, and very little self-control—not the best communication method for enhancing family relationships. Here are five ways to survive a trip to Angry Land that will help you figure out how to get rid of anger.
1. Enjoy the journey.
I’m half kidding here, but we need to accept that we will make frequent trips to Angry Land as we parent. I try to see these trips as learning experiences that can test and produce growth in me, and my children. The way we handle our anger will teach our children how to work through anger in a healthy way.
The way we handle our anger will teach our children how to work through anger in a healthy way.
2. Anger without insult.
Yes, you can be angry with your child. Yes, you can be firm with your child and apply consequences. And, yes, you can be angry at your child without insulting them. This means no name calling, no belittling—“If you can’t control yourself and not hit your sister you will have big problems down the road!”, and no harshness—“What’s wrong with you? What’s your problem?” Remember… be firm but kind.
3. Diffuse the situation.
Let off steam in an alternative way by shouting a made-up word. I’ve done this before and it catches my kids off guard and brings the level of tension way down. Talk in a funny voice. Whisper. Start doing jumping jacks. Whatever it takes to calm yourself. And, you can always say, “Okay. I am very angry right now and I don’t want to say something I’m going to regret. I’m going to leave the room for a few minutes to calm down.”
4. Review your roadmap.
Once I’ve left Angry Land and I’m back to normal, I look over the triggers that sent me there. Was it my kids fighting that pushed me over the edge or was the real culprit an unresolved issue with my husband? Is the trigger physical exhaustion, financial pressure, or something else?
5. Rate the journey.
The only way to handle trips to Angry Land better is to assess how you did while you were last there. I ask myself, how can I improve? Do I need to apologize for the way I handled myself when I was upset? Should I sit down with my kids and explain that there’s a better way to express anger?
I love this article about anger by Dr. Gary Oliver. He helps moms identify their anger style: cream puff, locomotive, steel magnolia, or mature responder. Let’s all hope we’re the last option! And this Anger Management 101 article by Susan Merrill also has some great tips for navigating anger.
Tell us! How do you handle your anger?