Friday, September 23, 2011

Anger Management and Parenting

I was running an anger management workshop recently and there happened to be a lot of parents in the room that day. One thing that amazed me was the need for anger management strategies when dealing with children. So this article will attempt to address this very common problem that parents face.

Firstly, I would like to clarify what I mean by the term: anger management for parents. Often children can be a source of anger and frustration for their parents in particular. Let's face it, it can be very difficult to manage your anger around your children. They seem to be able to press our buttons and are not always reasonable.

Learning how to say No
A lot of parents just don't know how to say no to their children. For some reason a lot of parents want to think of themselves as their child's best friend. A quick newsflash - your child needs a parent not a best friend. And a good parent knows how to say no to their child and risk not being liked. It is really hard for parents to say no to their children because you just don't know how they will respond. But... what's more important - to be liked or to be respected by your child? And if your able to do this, your child will turn out better from a developmental point of view. This is a very clear message from the research.

Saying no is essentially being assertive and bringing the issue to a head. Everyone knows where they stand.

Specific Assertiveness Strategies
Really the strategies do not differ from being assertive in other areas of your life. For example, if someone crosses over one of your boundaries and it is an issue for you, then you will need to address it. It is no different with your children. The big difference at home is that your children are going to cross of your boundaries all the time because they want to see what they can get away with. So it is imperative that you follow the assertiveness strategies. What are they? As discussed in previous articles the main steps involve:

(1) Identify when a personal boundary of yours has been crossed
(2) Address it through being assertive
(3) Continue to monitor your environment

So how does this translate to the home environment? Or how are you meant to respond to a boundary cross at home from your children? Say for example your child was beating up their younger brother or throwing food at the kitchen table. This may be a boundary cross for you and cause some negative reaction within you.
It is important that you address it with your child. But instead of focusing on what they did wrong, make it all about you. Explain to them why it is an issue for you and why it made you upset. There is probably a 90% chance that they will repeat the behaviour again. That is not the point. The point being that you have managed to address your anger and able to deal with them in a balanced manner.

Anger management for parents is no different than anger management for bosses or anger management in romantic relationships. The same principles apply. If you have an issue, then you need to address it. It is that simple.
View the original article here

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