After asking, "How do I stop the negative behavior?" most parents ask, "How do I stop reacting?"
Once you understand and expect that children will cry, whine, resist, and push and you realize it isn't your job to fix anything - the next logical question is "Well, then how do I stop getting so angry?"
It is the peeling of an onion.
I don't know that we can stop getting angry as much as we can shift to a state of responsibly managing our anger and initiating repair when our anger affects our children.
The reasons we react often run deep. I am no bare bulb - I've got layers and layers that keep me highly reactive in some situations.
Just recently, my daughter heard her dad and I having an intense conversation that triggered her into wanting to moderate so she could contain it. I took the cue and we all retreated to some individual space.
She HATES when we argue.
I hate that she fears our conflicts because I’ve been explosive in the past.
But is it my fault?
What's the point of blaming? Blame sends me into a perfection-seeking mode.
Perfection is not my goal. My goal is inner peace and a strong relationship with my child.
Here's how I handle fault and my anger.
- I breathe.
- I notice.
- I stay curious.
After some deep breaths and a few minutes alone, I met her in the kitchen.
When I inquired about breakfast, she became rigid and complained about not having any socks to wear.
I noticed that she might not have moved though the earlier moment of friction as easily or with as much grace and confidence as I did.
So, I got curious and took some responsibility.
"I'm guessing that you didn't want Daddy and me to argue and you're feeling a little bit scared that it is going to turn into something bigger or I might yell.”
She melted into my chest and put her head down.
I reaffirmed her safety. "It's okay to feel worried. I'm here. We are okay. I took some deep breaths and I feel better."
She hugged me tighter and offered me some of my own conscious communication suggestions.
She is my reminder that I am always evolving - not perfect but definitely conscious.
Then we did a cheer and she repeated after me...
My name is Maia Luna
And I'm a rockin kid'
I can handle anything
that comes my way
And all around love
Yay yay yay!
Yes, it lacks rhyme (and perhaps some originality) but in the moment it was inspiring and full of lyrics that I can't remember now - but you get the idea.
She made me repeat a cheer after her - which I said "with a lot of feeling - despite looking like a loon.
Then, she jumped off her chair and went about her day.
Need more help managing your anger. Learn how to stop yelling in this FREE VIDEO SERIES.
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