Anger control for parents

As a parent, when you learn how to control or manage your anger in a healthy way, you can teach children how to handle their anger better too.
As a parent, when you learn how to control or manage your anger in a healthy way, you can teach children how to handle their anger better too.

Anger is a natural emotion. People express it in different ways. In some cases, anger has a positive effect. It may motivate you to get something done or even help you stand your ground for something you believe in. In other cases, anger can be dangerous.

As a parent, when you learn how to control or manage your anger in a healthy way, you can teach children how to handle their anger better too. Anger affects children and parents equally. Managing anger is important because it helps avoid its negative consequences.

Recurrent anger may lead to physical and mental conditions. Some conditions such as heart disease and depression have been found to get worse with anger.

Children need to feel secure and safe around their parents. When you react in anger, they might feel scared and start hiding things from you to avoid making you angry. As a parent, you can avoid these behaviors by learning how to manage your anger in healthy ways.

How to notice anger

To control your anger, you might find it helpful to first know the signs of anger. These include:

  • Feeling tense
  • Breathing faster than normal
  • Facial flushing
  • Sweating
  • Tension around your shoulders
  • Stomach churning
  • Clenching your fists or jaws

Consequences of excessive anger

Anger has various negative effects on your body and those around you. Some of these consequences are:

  • Mental health: When you have anger piled up for a long period of time, it may develop into serious mental health conditions. These conditions may include depression, substance misuse, and low self-esteem.
  • Relationships: Losing your temper may damage the relationship between you and your children. In some cases, when a child is exposed to angry outbursts, they may start to feel rejected and isolated by the parent.
  • Physical Health: Anger has negative effects on the human body. Some health conditions such as heart failure, poor sleep, high blood pressure and weakened immune systems have been linked to anger.

Relaxation techniques that control anger

When you notice your anger is building up, some of the following relaxation techniques may help you calm yourself down:

  • Visualizing a relaxed image in your mind
  • Saying some phrase or word repetitively in your mind
  • Breathing in and out deeply

Anger management strategies for parents

There are several anger management strategies that can help you learn how to control your anger. The following strategies might help ease the tension built from a heated situation:

  1. Remain calm and listen. It is important to remain calm to understand what your child is trying to say to you. You may try calming yourself down by practicing the deep breathing technique. This is helpful especially if you can’t step away from the child. 
  2. Have a logical reason. Anger may distort your perception of what’s happening. Realizing that your child is not intentionally making you angry might improve your outlook on the situation. 
  3. Avoid generalizing situations. Acknowledge the things your child does properly instead of generalizing their behavior and making judgements based on what’s making you angry.
  4. Avoid getting defensive. Children may get you angry by criticizing your actions. Destructive criticism might trigger you to get defensive. Although it is normal to feel this way, it is better not to get defensive with your child. Try to understand what they are going through. 
  5. Take a break. Take some time before addressing what is making you angry. This is helpful especially when you are tired. Taking a break helps you handle the situation with a better attitude. It increases the chances of finding a helpful solution. 
  6. Physical exercise. Having a daily exercise routine may help you relax your mind. Physical exercise positively contributes to resetting your mental and emotional system. 
  7. Seek professional help with mental health. Uncontrollable anger can be a sign of some mental health conditions. It’s healthy to seek medical help to determine if you have such a condition. Medical intervention is beneficial because it will help you get the appropriate counselling and a long-term solution. 
  8. Lead by example. Children learn from their parents through observation. It’s normal to lose control of your anger. When this happens, talk to your child and apologize for any misguided reaction towards them. When children register this reaction, they also learn to control their reactions. 
  9. Add humor. Humor eases the tension between you and your child. However, the humor should not affect your child negatively.

How to treat anger issues

Some professional behavioral therapy may be useful in anger management, including.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological practice for mental conditions such as those that may be underlying anger issues. It also helps solve conditions like anxiety, depression, and drug abuse.
  • Parent management training (PMT). With this approach, parents are taught by professionals how to limit their outbursts of anger. You may learn new ways to handle misbehavior, or learn how to better use positive reinforcement. The focus is set on encouraging children for their good deeds rather than only focusing on punishing them for their wrongdoings.

Seek out licensed professionals or ask your doctor if you feel you might benefit from professional anger management techniques.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/17/2021
References
American Psychological Association: "What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?"
Stanford Medicine: "Anger Management: Strategies for Parents and Grandparents."?
The Clay Center: "Anger Management: How to Help You and Your Kids Stay in Control."?
University of Rochester Medical Center: "Anger Management: Strategies for Parents and Grandparents."?
Yale Medicine: "Anger, Irritability and Aggression in Kids."