I respectfully disagree. I mean, I KNOW what you mean. But maybe it's in the fine print of the wording I chose. I said there's no reason to be angry. Maybe I should have said "there's no emotionally healthy reason to be angry at a child" (===>IN the situation under discussion, which is the kid "disobeying" or "misbehaving" or whatever. That is, not a willful aggressive act, but kids just being kids.). Obviously, you're right. Anger is anger. If we get angry, we get angry. The anger is "what is," and it is that reality with which we must cope. In that sense it is neutral. But I strongly believe that the anger we are talking about here is the base of so, so, so, much strife that I see on these message boards. Parents want to know how to stop hitting, they want to know how to stop yelling, threatening, feeling like they're about to blow......so my modus operandi is to investigate what's under the anger. And I maintain that it is our LENS through which we see what the child is doing which causes the anger. And it is that which I seek to analyze, cure, solve, whatever. I'm big into problem-solving. Changing the lens through which we see. Changing the paradigm if that is the correct word.
I think about this stuff all the time. You say anger is devoid of moral value. OK, maybe it's the expression of the anger that can have moral value? (or negative moral value?) Because frankly I do think it's wrong to get angry at a kid who's just doing the best he knows how because he's only been on earth for a handful of years. OK, you say, but I'm angry and the anger has no moral component. Don't you think so? Whether it gets outwardly expressed at the little one (unfair; scary for the kid; invites him to be aggressive back at you) or stuffed (which is self-destructive for the parent). Anger demands an outlet. It has a result; a physical toll. (I have recently become very aware at the churning stomach and racing heartbeat that anger or its suppression has caused inside my own body. And it's been long known that the outward expression of it just inflames my child.....but wait.....I am referring to UNFAIR anger, which brings me back to where we started)
So I guess if I were to get myself out of this word puzzle, I'd have to change my wording. There's no reason to be "unfairly angry" at a child. We need to put on our thinking caps. We need to be fair. We need to not take things out on the kids, when they have no idea what baggage we are carrying which causes our angry reactions. Obviously if a child comes over like a big jerk and decides he's going to stomp on my foot deliberately with the desire to hurt me, I will get angry and I won't apologize for THAT. Or if he looks at me to see if I'm watching and takes a hammer to my prized ceramic kitty-cat just to make me upset, you can bet I'll oblige him with upset. But in this post, I am talking about anger which is unfair. Thanks for working through this with me. I do so love to think this stuff to death. :-) If it weren't past midnight I'd probably think about it some more. And I'd probably make more sense! But it is time for sleep.....z-z-z-z-z-
Originally Posted by bluebackpacks
I would note the difference between feeling angry and acting out of anger. Parents shouldn't have to apologize for their feelings, nor should children. Anger is an emotion. Emotions are devoid of moral value. Both saints and sociopaths feel anger... it is action that defines existence. [End existentialist rant.]