HAVING A GOOD ATTITUDE
Accept that anger is a normal and even healthy emotion.
What matters is how you handle it and express it determines the outcome.
If handled well, anger can be an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your child and to teach him how to handle these strong emotions.
If handled poorly through the use of name calling, shaming, or humiliation, anger can damage the relationship.
Since it takes many years to learn the skills to manage anger, be patient with your child’s efforts.
Remember there is a reason why children get angry.
Ask yourself what need is not being met or what feeling is not being addressed? Your children’s behavior, even if angry and inappropriate, is a way to communicate with you.
For example, you can say to your daughter who is slamming her door: “You seem angry because you expected to be invited to Sherry’s party and disappointed that she didn’t include you.”
Be your children’s secure base.
Provide a safe, dependable, and accepting relationship to which your children can turn when upset or in need of support, understanding, or encouragement. If you can accept their angry feelings and if you are seen as a safe haven, then your children are more likely to come to you when they are troubled.
Send healthy messages about anger.
Keeping these attitudes in mind can guide you in sending healthy messages to your children about anger, such as:
“Anger is normal; it isn’t bad to be mad.”
“Children as well as adults can be angry.”
“I still love you when you are angry.”
“You can tell me when you are angry and what you are angry about.”
“I will help you learn to express your angry feelings appropriately.”
“It’s alright that it takes a long time to learn to manage your anger.”
“Even when angry, you can obey the rules.”
“It is okay to be angry, but it is never okay to hurt another person.”
Model how to handle anger.
You can help your children manage their anger by handling your own anger in healthy and acceptable ways.
Eliminate aggression. When you speak respectfully, even when angry, your children learn that they can be angry and still think about the words they use.
Stay calm and separate. Do not take your children’s angry outbursts personally. Use a mantra, such as: “This will pass” or “My children are not out to get me.”
Knowing that your children are watching you and how you handle your anger can give you the motivation to think before you respond.
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