In this fast-paced world, situations often get out of hand due to:
- Workplace stress.
- Busy after-work schedules.
- Kids under stress from school.
- Kids not getting along with other siblings.
- Monetary concerns.
- And so much more!
Parents must find ways to constructively manage situations that can cause eruptions of anger or that require conflict management. You, a parent, are the most copied examples of how to accomplish these things that your children ever use. It is up to you to manage your own anger and, by example, teach your children. How can this be done, you ask? The following are some suggestions:
- Reduce the road rage! Seriously, do you get somewhere a minute faster because you have flicked off the guy going slow in the fast lane or by swearing and calling that person names? Maybe they have a good reason for being in that lane and are doing the best they can. And do not permit it with your kids when they are driving! Avoid dangerous behavior on the road. Swerving in and out of traffic because you are running late may someday lead to your child being a terrible car accident because they are mimicking your actions. Leave home to go to school, practice, or lessons in plenty of time to get there.
- Taking a deep breath when you are angry is a great tool to teach your kids. The whole 'count to 10' thing really does work if it is 10 long deep breaths you are counting.
- Talk to your teens when you see that they are upset about something. Find out what happened to upset them and as they talk and calm down, you can discuss their options. There are always several things that can be done to affect a situation. Decide on the pros and cons of things that fit this circumstance.
- Encourage your children to vent anger verbally to you or to a close friend rather than the source of the anger. Once vented, anger often will dissipate as cooler heads prevail. Sometimes just talking about it and having their feelings validated is enough to quell the furor. Or, as they put it into words, they see that is not really worth all the energy they are giving it.
- Teach your kids to never react immediately in anger. Do this by never reacting to them in anger. Teach them to give themselves a time-out to cool off a little. I tried to never dole out punishment to my teens when I was angry. As a result, they were often grounded for a week instead of "the rest of your life."
- Discuss times when they did react in an inappropriate manner after the situation is resolved. Talk about how things could have been handled more appropriately.
- Tell your kids times when you reacted out of anger and got into trouble or caused a larger problem for yourself. If you are honest with them, they are more likely to be honest with you when problems arise.
- Discuss with them situations that could arise. Do a few 'what ifs' when you are both in a calm state of mind. They will remember those and, hopefully, will react in a positive manner to conflict.
- Encourage them to listen to music that soothes them when they are upset. This is something else they can learn from you. Music, meditation, prayer--they all help to recreate a sense of calm.
- Practice and teach forgiveness. Many angry eruptions are from little things that build up over time because the person has not forgiven someone or even forgiven him or herself. Forgiveness is not for the person being forgiven; it is for the person doing the forgiving--so he can live with peace in his heart.
Starting all these actions at an early age with your children will help them, but even as teens, they will respond.