This is a FAQ from a four part series. If you missed Part One, I encourage you to go back and read the beginning, My Anger Story.
A few questions have rolled into my inbox over the last few weeks and since I think the answers will be beneficial to many, I wanted to post them. If you have any questions that I have not answered, please feel free to leave those in the comments.
What *should* you do when you get angry?
I have learned to recognize my triggers and the certain things that my body does when I am about to flip out. I tense my shoulders, grit my teeth, and clinch my fists. (These might be different for you.) When I feel this start, I know that I need to take a time out. I physically make my self relax. Loosen the shoulders. Relax my jaw. Uncurl my hands. Breathe. Most of the time, this works. However, there are moments when I need to physically remove myself from the situation. I have been known to put my hand up (as in STOP) to my husband and walk away. If he follows me, he gets it and quickly realizes his mistake.
With the kids, I might go sit in the bathroom for five minutes. I am blessed to have a smart 8 year old who can watch her little sister and alert me if there is a danger when I take a 5 minute break and the bathroom door is thin so I can hear everything. Still, the separation helps.
What should you do when your spouse gets angry at your child?
Bill will have moments when he will snap at the kids. What he does to me when I get worked up is SAY MY NAME. So, when he gets worked up, I do the same to him. Gently and not loud, I just say his name and then give him a look that says he needs to step away.
Now, we have an understanding about this so he doesn’t lash out at me when it happens. I do not recommend doing this without discussing it with your spouse first. If he has inclinations towards anger, even such a simple action in the middle of a rage could throw him off the deep end.
Perhaps you could wait until he is done and gently ask if you could talk through the situation. Ask lots of questions and let him do most of the talking. Try to reach an agreement together of what could have been done differently.
Is it okay to warn your child, “Please stop; I am beginning to get angry.” Is that emotional manipulation or effective discipline?
I would never have thought that to be emotional manipulation. I have told my children when I need a time out. I will also tell them, “I have almost reached my limit. Please stop and go play in your room. You have not done anything wrong. I just need a little time in here by myself.”
I also talk to the children a lot about how they react to situations. I remind them that we are in control of our reactions even when we feel out of control. How we act is a choice and we need to stay calm so we can make good choices.
My children set me off all the time. How do you recommend I deal with their behavior and keep my cool?
The best solution I have found for keeping calm and effectively disciplining my children at the same time is the Doorposts Biblical Parenting Charts. Our family decided what the rewards and punishment would be for certain behaviors and wrote them on the charts. The charts are displayed on the side of our refrigerator.
Honestly, these charts place a leash on me. I know that if I expect my family to abide by these guidelines, then I must submit to the rules too. Plus, the reactionary discipline is gone. My control of the situation (even when it feels out of control) is already set out by these charts. I don’t have to think about what would be appropriate punishment as my temper is boiling. I can just go into an automatic response based on what the chart dictates.
What about you? How would you answer these questions?
More from this series ~
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