Do you know what to do when your child gets angry?
“Sending children away to get control of their anger perpetuates the feeling of ‘badness” inside them…Chances are they were already feeling not very good about themselves before the outburst and the isolation just serves to confirm in their own minds that they were right.” — Otto Weininger, Ph.D. Time-In Parenting
When our kids get angry, it pushes buttons for most of us. We’re not perfect, but we try to be loving parents. Why is our child lashing out like this?
Many parents send an angry child to her room to “calm down.” After all, what else can we do? We certainly can’t reason with her when she’s furious. It’s no time to teach lessons or ask for an apology. She needs to calm down.
If we send him to his room, he will indeed calm down, eventually. He’ll also have gotten a clear message that his anger is unacceptable and that he’s on his own when it comes to managing his big scary feelings–we don’t know how to help him. He won’t have worked through whatever led to his anger. Instead, he’ll have stuffed the anger, so it’s no longer under conscious control and will burst out again soon. No wonder so many of us develop anger-management issues, whether that means we yell at our kids, throw tantrums with our spouse, or overeat to avoid acknowledging angry feelings.
What can we do instead? We can help our kids learn to manage their anger responsibly. That begins with accepting anger — without acting on it.
This is one of the most critical tasks of childhood–learning to tolerate the wounds of everyday life without moving into reactive anger. People who can do this are able to resolve challenges more constructively. We call them emotionally intelligent.
Kids learn emotional intelligence when we teach them that all their feelings are okay, but it’s their job to control their actions. How?
The full article is incredibly well written and well worth the read.
I can’t help but notice how popular the exact opposite of the advice she gives is — and how much it defines our entire society even as adults.
When we see someone expressing anger we:
Panic, write off the person, act like the emoter is dangerous and bad, try to isolate the person, escalate a threat to control them and them punish them for disturbing the peace.
A lot of places, it’s called policing — sometimes it’s even referred to as pastoral care…