Despite the popular idea that we need to “express” our anger so that it doesn’t eat away at us, there’s nothing constructive about expressing anger to another person, especially in front of your children. I believe that expressing anger while you are angry actually makes you angrier. This in turn makes the other person hurt, afraid, or angry, and causes a rift in the relationship. Before you discharge your anger physically, you need calm yourself and consider what the “message” of the anger is and how it’s going to affect the person who happens to be around. You see, a few days ago, I lost my temper. It had absolutely nothing to do with my children but my son got to witness me behaving in a way that he never has before. Because my son is 14-years-old, my pea brain honestly felt that he would not be affected. It turns out that I really scared and upset him. I will never be able to take those feelings away from him and for that, I feel like the worst mom on the face of this earth.
Since you’re human, your children will certainly see you angry from time to time and how you handle those situations will teach them a lot. When we’re swept with anger, we’re physically ready to fight. Hormones and neurotransmitters are flooding our bodies. They cause your muscles to tense, your pulse to race, your breathing to quicken. It’s impossible to stay calm at those points, but we all know that throwing and breaking stuff — while it might bring us instant relief — isn’t really what we should do.
Your children get angry too, so it’s a double gift to them to find constructive ways to deal with your anger: you not only don’t hurt them, you offer them a role model. Will you teach them that being angry makes them right? That parents have tantrums too? That screaming is how adults handle conflict? If so, they’ll adopt these behaviors as a badge of how grown-up they think they are. Or will you model for your child that anger is part of being human, and that learning to manage anger responsibly is part of becoming mature? I have a made a promise to myself that I will never stoop to that level again. I have to be good role model for my children because they mean absolutely everything to me.
At my age, I guess I still have a lot to learn. Parents don’t realize that our children are watching EVERYTHING that we do. If you ever want to know how you act, just watch your children for a while.
If you have something to say or wish to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.