Anger is a healthy emotion, and nothing to be ashamed of. As parents, though, we need to avoid reacting out of anger and decide on our actions with the goal of positive outcomes for our children, and ourselves which is hard to do when we’re angry.
These three ways to manage anger for hot-tempered mothers may help us to do just that when we’re running low on patience.
Losing your temper isn’t going to help.
1. Recognize That Acting In Anger is Usually Counter-productive.
As Steven Laurent points out in his 10 Tips for Reducing Anger, acting from anger is usually not going to lead to a productive outcome. It may feel rewarding and justified to you at the time, but it comes at a cost to your relationships.
Watching someone blow up at you in anger is intimidating, and the natural reaction is to pull back, away from the angry person. This may be the effect you’re looking for in that rude stranger, but I’ll bet that it’s not a dynamic that you want to have between you and your family.
There is not to say that you have to hide the fact that you’re angry; you shouldn’t have to hide your honest reaction. Just don’t let the anger lead you into saying or doing something that you’ll regret later after you’ve calmed down.
You can say that you’re angry, and explaining why you are mad in a quiet voice as you can manage is a helpful way to deal with the situation. If your child learns that crayon directly on the walls is going to get you angry, that’s a useful lesson for them. It doesn’t make the lesson any better if they are frightened by how you express it.
2. It’s Okay to Take a Time Out For a Few Minutes
If you need a few moments to calm down to handle a situation productively, then take them. The situation will still be there to be handled when you’ve calmed down, and you’ll be more able to deal with it in a productive manner.
“I’m too angry to be fair with you right now; it will be better if we both go to our rooms until I calm down” is an effective way to get a time out. After you’ve calmed down, you’ll be in much better shape to deal with the situation rationally and more efficiently.
This not only lets you express that you’re angry productively, but it’s also a valuable example for your child. They will learn to avoid acting on their emotions without thinking when they see you model that behavior.
Children learn from what they see, and this can sometimes be a terrible responsibility for their parents. They will mimic your habits, both good and bad. If they see you be honest about your emotions while showing control over how you react to those emotions, they’ll pick up that expectation for themselves, automatically.
By the same token, if they see you acting from anger or impatience, they will learn that this is the way that adults behave, and they’ll adopt the behavior themselves. It’s terribly difficult to convince kids that they can’t act the same way that they see their parents behave.
You have the power to decide what you will show them about how to behave. This includes how to act when you’re feeling angry, even if it takes extra effort on your part.
Perhaps keeping this in mind will help you resist the urge to let your temper get away from you in a difficult situation. Of course, no parent gets any aspect of parenting correctly; we all slip occasionally. But we can try to do our best.
While you’re safely away from others in a time out, there are several things that you can do to help yourself get over the angry feelings.
•Yoga Any slow, focused calming movement will help, and paying attention to the fine points of a yoga posture or movement will give your mind something to occupy it that isn’t an annoyance.
•Counting Long, Slow Breaths Breathing from the diaphragm (belly) rather than from the rib cage slows our heartbeat and calms us.
•Clean Something This combines something else to focus on and gives a pleasant sense of accomplishment as a bonus.
•Chanting Repeating a calming phrase like ‘relax’ or ‘calm down’ over and over as you try to breathe slowly will help you relax.
•Distract Yourself Reading an engrossing story or watching a funny clip, or favorite music video can turn your thoughts away from whatever you were angry about.
•Progressive Relaxation This is an exercise easiest to do while you’re lying down. Tense your feet for a few seconds then let them relax. Then clench your calf muscles for a few seconds, then release and let them relax. Progress in this way up your entire body, through the thighs, glutes, abs, etc. until you finish with clenching your hands and then relax them. By the time you’ve gone through your whole body like this, you should be much calmer and more relaxed.
•Empathize Much of anger is caused by the feeling that someone else should have behaved differently. The fact remains that they didn’t behave differently, and understanding why they behaved the way that they did can short-circuit anger. If a kid annoys you, it helps to remember that they’re just a kid, and being thoughtless is to be expected of them.
3. Work Out to Work Off That Anger
Stress and a temper go hand in hand, and one of the more effective methods of reducing overall stress is an exercise program. It doesn’t need to be several hours at the gym every week, simply taking a 15-minute walk 4 or 5 days a week will help lower your stress level quite a bit.
Exercise raises your serotonin levels, and low serotonin levels make people capable of regulating their anger, according to this research. Serotonin has some mood and energy enhancing benefits besides making it easier to control our anger. Besides exercise, the best methods of raising your serotonin levels are getting out into the sunshine, massage, and thinking about happy events.
Controlling one’s reactions to stressful situations is not always easy, but it’s expected of adults, and it’s particularly important for parents to do it. I certainly hope that these three ways to manage anger for hot-tempered mothers will help you to succeed in this sometimes-difficult task.
About the Author: Hannah Tong is the founder of Omaby.com, a blog dedicated to providing accurate advice to mothers regarding childcare. She loves taking care of her kids and teaching them the right things. She is also enthusiastic and enjoys sharing her experiences to teach others about how to care for their families’ health