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Five Simple Steps to Dealing with Anger

Our children bring us incredible joy. They can make us laugh and fill our hearts with love. Yet, those same children can bring out the anger in us, and we're often regretful and ashamed after the fact. But getting angry at your children is a perfectly human and normal response to the complicated, often stress-filled job of parenting.

The first step to avoiding anger is to identify the things that provoke you - so that you can make positive changes in your home.


Steps to Dealing with Anger


Identify What Sets You Off

Most parents get angry over insignificant problems. While they may be minor issues they happen on such a regular basis that they become blown way out of proportion. Some of the most common are whining, temper tantrums, sibling bickering, and non-cooperation. It can help to determine which behaviors most bother you and set about making a plan to correct each problem before it sets off your anger button again.

Notice Your Hot Spots

In addition to triggers, there are "hot spots" in the day when anger more easily rises to the surface. These are often times when everyone is tired, hungry or stressed. These emotions leave us more vulnerable to anger. Typically, these are early morning, before naptime, before meals, bedtime, or the middle of the night. You may also encounter situations when misbehavior increases, and therefore, so does your anger: grocery shopping, play-dates, or family visits, for example.

Set A Plan

Once you've identified some of the things that set off your anger, you can figure out if there are things you can do differently to snuff out the spark of your anger. For example, if the morning rush brings stress, you can prepare things the night before: set out clothing, pack lunches, find shoes. Then create a "morning poster" that outlines the daily routine step-by-step. Set your own alarm a half hour earlier so you can catch your breath before everyone else in the house wakes up. At first this may be challenging, but once you get in the routine I think you'll love that quiet start to your day.

If you find that tempers are shorter in the hour before dinner, set out healthy appetizers, enlist the kids' help in preparing dinner, get the kids involved in a craft activity, or plan an earlier meal time.

As with these two examples, identify the anger-starters and change and rearrange things to avoid the problems that set things off.

You see how this works now, right?

  • Identify your vulnerable moments.
  • Rearrange your life to take control of these things.
  • Stay calm and in control.

Doing things the way you've always done them and expecting different results only leaves you frustrated. Instead, identify the things that aren't working and take action to change them for the better.

Be Flexible

Anger is not something that can be dealt with once and then will go away. Your children grow and change, and new issues appear. From time to time take a fresh look at the issues that create negative emotions in your family and take action to change things for the better.

Let Love Help

And, finally, at times of anger, hold on to the feeling of love that is the foundation of your relationship with your child. Take time every day to bask in the joy of being a parent. Take time to play, talk and listen. Hug, kiss and cuddle your child often. When you build up this foundation of positive love and emotions you will find yourself less likely to experience intense anger.

These tips are from The No-Cry Discipline Solution.

Elizabeth Pantley's picture
No-Cry Solution Series Author

Elizabeth Pantley is a parent educator, mother of four, and the author of the now-classic baby sleep book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, as well as six other books in the series, including The No-Cry Separation Anxiety SolutionThe No-Cry Potty Training SolutionThe No-Cry Discipline Solution, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution, plus other successful parenting books. She is known worldwide as the practical, reasonable voice of respectful parenting.