We have discussed on this blog before that it’s not just “bad” people who abuse their children. Sometimes it is a “good” parent who gets caught up in a time of high pressure or a situation that is controlled by emotions. A parent who truly loves his child may do something in a fit that will appall him as he looks on it in retrospect. What can you do to help avoid a situation like that? Well, the age-old adage to count to ten is not a bad place to start, but here are a few more thoughts that may help:
- Wait to respond – Patience is the biggest enemy of anger. Things done in an emotional haste can lead to regrettable actions. Give yourself some time to think about what you are going to do.
- Do something physical – Many times some physical labor will dissipate a lot of angry energy. Take a jog, wash some dishes (but don’t break them!), do a couple loads of laundry, mow the lawn. You will be amazed at the clarity of mind when you are finished. On top of that, you’ll have some of your chores done!
- Get away for just a bit – While this may not always be possible, it can help to separate yourself from your children for a short while. Ask a trusted neighbor to watch the children while you go to the store, send the children outside to play, slip into the family room and watch TV for a few moments, slip into another room and pray for a few moments. You just need to regain some perspective when you are angry.
- Talk with a trusted confidant – Call your own parents, call your pastor, call a trusted friend. Again, the point is just to gain some perspective that will help you override your emotions.
- Get help – In worst-case scenarios, you may need to get serious help from people who are trained to help you with anger management issues. Be honest with yourself. Don’t wait until you have done something that will harm your children either emotionally or physically. There is no shame in having the problem. But ignoring the problem may lead to actions that will cause shame.