Getting angry is easy. It’s a human reaction to stress, frustration, and people, in our lives. It’s important to have ways to defuse that anger before it gets the best of us, especially as parents.
When we yell at our children, we’re taking out our anger on them.
When we lose our self-control with our children, we’re taking out our anger on them.
Maybe it’s a child who is angry and out of control.
It doesn’t mean we’re bad parents. It means we’re human, and we need some skills: an strategy, a plan, a method of breaking the tension for everyone and taking a break.
Nothing fancy, mind you, just a few simple, but immediate things we can do in the midst of heated moments, before anger turns into something hurtful or physical.
How to Defuse Anger Before Taking it Out on Your Kids
1. Walk back. Physically take a few steps away from your child, and pause.
2. Smile. Even if it’s strained.
3. Pray. Lift up your eyes, your hands, your heart, and seek His peace.
4. Get outside. Both of you, all of you. Get out where you can be seen by neighbors and people passing by, and yell at a tree (instead of your child), and where the sun can shine on you (or the rain can fall on you or the snow can be made into snowmen). Play together, take a walk, check the mail, fetch the paper, sweep the porch, run around – whatever helps you channel your heated energy into something else.
5. Count. By fives by tens by whatever. Count to 70 or 700.
6. Put yourself in a time out. That might mean putting your child in one too, away from you. Hand him a book and some toys while you take time to cool down. While you’re there, drink a load of water.
7. Tell your child you love him. Even if your voice is tense.
8. Start singing (preferably a song your child knows, and can join in on). This just might diffuse the tension and get you both participating in something together.
9. Pick up your phone. Call your mom, your dad, a friend. Someone who can listen to you, or talk with you. If there’s no one to call, go ahead and give yourself permission to use it as a distraction.