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Is anger your first response?
Parenting Power Admin June 21, 2015 No Comments

Is anger your first response?

As summer vacation approaches, the ability to stay present, to recognize and extend our happiness becomes really important. There is no question that increased togetherness can try anyone’s patience from time to time. To that end this week we are going to focus on an emotion that runs contrary to happiness – anger.

Today we are asking:

Is anger your first response?

Anger can become a family habit. It is a secondary emotion, often masking other, more vulnerable feelings like pain, shame, embarrassment, confusion, disappointment, fear, etc.

Many times, anger is a reaction – it is about gaining power over the person who has just left you feeling something you aren’t wanting to feel.

Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning said,

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

Allowing ourselves the time and freedom to recognize the initial feeling and verbalize it, creates the space and power to choose a different response.

Instead of,

“You know better than to hit your brother! No iPad for a week!”

you might say,

“I feel scared that you guys are going to get hurt. You need some time apart right now and when we are calm, we need to figure out how you can make amends.”

Instead of,

“You never tell me the truth! Your teacher just phoned again and told me that you didn’t hand in your work. You are such a liar”

you might say,

“I just heard from your teacher. I’m feeling embarrassed and really disappointed that I can’t trust your choices right now. Once I’m calm, we need to figure out a plan for you to regain my trust.”

Does the child get away with the behaviour? No. Do we regret our disrespectful behaviour? No.

When we respond with “I,” we create that freedom and power, mentioned above. We also model respectful language to our kids.

As an added bonus, when we move away from anger and acknowledge our own feelings, we are also more likely to recognize our kids’ feelings. We can give everyone a chance to calm down and then we can work on the solution and the making of amends.

Less yelling and anger, more responding with respect…this is about being present and finding more happiness in our families.

This week: When you feel the pressure rising, instead of starting your reaction with “YOU…,” do the following:

1. Create some space by using a stall word, (Julie loves the word Wow!)

2. Stay present to the primary feeling (fear, embarrassment, sadness, shame, etc)

3. Start your sentence with “I” – either describe the behaviour as “I see… or I heard…” and then go to “I feel…”

When you aren’t reacting with anger, everyone has the presence to be respectful and the blame and shame can go live in somewhere else.


How do we get our kids to make amends?

There are four simple steps and their here in our podcast called Making Amends. We’ve dropped the price to $5 until Father’s Day in case all you Dad’s want an extra treat!

The rest of our downloadable recordings are $10 each. You can find them here. Of course, if you are a member, you have access all of them on the member website. We’d love to hear which one is your favourite.

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