Suppressing or ignoring anger is unhealthy but aggressive venting is no better. Anger isn’t something you have to let out in an explosive way so as not to not blow up. In fact, outbursts reinforce your anger problem because you’re not actively controlling it. Explosive anger is one of my least favourite qualities in a person, due to my aggressive biological dad.
My baby is 10 months old (time flies!), and already I’m sad to admit that I’ve allowed myself to get annoyed with her more than once. Granted it’s usually out of worry for her safety, but I can be stressed or grumpy nonetheless. Let me paint a picture for you; her inexplicable need to crawl towards (and try touch) the oven when it’s hot- only when it’s hot. Or her death wish to try gnaw on the TV cables. Add that to her love for crawling into the bathroom and waving around the toilet brush like a fairy wand…Usually transforms Happy Momma Tasha into Stressed Momma Tasha.
Sounds silly if you don’t have kids, but if you do, you know that it is so exasperating …because she does all of these things multiple times a day. And she’s at a stage where I know that she understands my tone of voice and many words, so her defiance is soul destroying at times.
In light of this, here are 5 ways that have helped me cool off when I have felt myself about to give into explosive anger:
1. Giving yourself a time out– lock your kid in their high chair, room or crib and give yourself a two minute time out. Would an outburst of anger rectify the situation? Probably not. So calm down, scream into a pillow, forgive the rascal, and get on with responding/disciplining appropriately.
2. Play a game with your kid– nothing usually melts my heart faster than seeing my daughter smile at me. Play peek-a-boo, tag, or whatever game your child loves and see how immediately your frustration evaporates.
3. Use your senses – Take advantage of the relaxing power of your sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Try listening to music or walk down memory lane and recall that relaxing holiday or happy memory.
4. Sing– When you want to be sarcastic or snide, remember that those words could take years for your child or partner to forget. Singing a hymn, lullaby or ditty is one of the most soothing things for your soul in times of frustration. I have honestly found great strength in music and singing. Not only does it melt away the anger inside you almost instantly, but what’s even better is that you won’t ever let on that you were about to snap.
5. Exercise– Take the kids out for a power walk with you, or go run around the block when your other half gets home from work. If you’re more of the competitive type do a work out DVD with your spouse and make it a friendly competition- so both of you have some incentive to finish. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Gotta love those endorphins.
If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them! Good luck, happy parenting!