Staying Calm When Dealing With Angry Kids
Why is my child so angry? My heart pounded as I asked the question. It thumped with fear. What if this doesn’t change? My mind raced with worry. What if I can’t control my child?
Just as bad: What if—because of their anger—I can’t control myself?
With each scream of my child’s lips and the pounding of fists on the tile floor, I felt myself losing control. My face flushed, my temperature rose, and my skin tingled. I’m angry, too.
Within ten seconds my child’s anger became my own. I wanted to control the situation. I wanted to control the child. I wanted to control myself, but how to do all three alluded me.
My mind flashed back to my twenty-three years of parenting. Timeouts, stern words, consequences … it’s hit or miss what worked.
What if I can’t stop my kids—not just today but in the future? What type of angry person will my child become? We know those type of people. The ones who take out their inner angst on the world and leave a tsunami in their wake. I knew I needed to help my kid and to do that I had to learn better to control myself first.
How to Stop the Anger
There are many reasons why kids get angry. It could be because of life stressors, food allergies, from past trauma, or from other things. But when they get angry, there are three things I did to control myself.
1. Don’t Escalate: When my kids get angry I find my emotions rising too. And when I’m fired up, it’s hard to control my kids. The thing is, my kids want me to get angry. When I do, then their anger is justified. When I’m angry, then my child becomes a victim and nothing is solved. Yet when I work to calm my emotions, and to not escalate with my child, then I can provide my child with the help they need.
2. Don’t Project an Angry Future for Your Child. Our adoptive kids came into our home with a lot of anger. I’ve heard stories of what happens to kids like these, and it brought a lot worry. Yet, after therapy and working with our kids, most of their anger is gone. Don’t think that just because your kids have a problem today that it’ll be a problem tomorrow too. A lot of things can change when you seek the right help.
3. You Don’t Have to Deal With Anger Alone. So many times I’ve felt that I have to use willpower to handle my anger. I felt as if I tried harder I could be calmer. It has helped me to remember that I don’t have to do this alone. Whenever I struggle with anything, including anger, I can turn to God and seek help. When I pray He gives me strength. When I read His Word He gives me wisdom. Anger has caused me to turn to God—to need him more.
I still struggle with anger, but when I do I turn to God. God reminds me not to worry about the future but to focus on the day. God helps me to control my anger, and because of that, I’m better able to help my kids as they need. I can stay calm because I know He’s helping me, so I can help my kids.
Walking in Him,
P.S. We're addressing anger and ways to conquer it together during our March Madness series this month.
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