Some view their anger as justified because they are right and others are wrong. They believe that being right is the only ticket required to launch into an adult temper tantrum. But saying “He made me angry” implies that external events require emotional intensity. The dad who links the trigger (what “made” him angry) and response (what he does with his anger) too closely ends up believing that others have made him the way he is.
When parents do this, they often blame their kids for problems and rarely take responsibility for their own emotions. In many cases, of course, the child is indeed wrong. It isn’t helpful, though, to expect our children to bear the responsibility of our anger in addition to what they did wrong. The mom who says, “I wouldn’t have to get angry if my kids would listen the first time,” has fallen into the trap of blaming her children for her angry responses.
The truth of the matter is that it doesn’t take much intelligence to see something wrong, but it takes wisdom to know how to respond to it. There’s a big difference between a button that pops up on a turkey to announce that it’s done and a cook who knows how to make a great dinner. Some people are like those little turkey buttons—whenever something goes wrong they pop up with angry reactions and they try to justify abusiveness because they see a problem.
It’s not enough to be right in life; parents also need to be wise. Real wisdom knows how to respond in a way that brings change, not revenge. As parents, we don’t just want to punish our kids for doing something wrong; we want to help them change their hearts. Anger may reveal what’s wrong, but it’s rarely a good solution to a problem. Once you identify an offense, it’s best to consider how to motivate change.
Click here to share some ideas with others about how you bring about change in your kids without anger.
This parenting tip comes from the book Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN,BSN.