Showing anger appropriately? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 10 Old 05-08-2012, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
Mami_Feliz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 94
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

This is just something that I would really like others' perspectives on.

 

DS1 is 6 and he has occasional angry outbursts. He is a very loving and empathetic child and also very emotional. He is big for his age and quite strong and when he does have an angry outburst he kicks and hits and really tries to hurt (me or his dad). Once he has gotten over it and calmed down he is always absolutely mortified and very upset about what he's done. I feel like it is very hard for him to control these very intense feelings and I focus on trying to get him to get the anger out some other way.

 

On a good day I manage this well, and on a bad day I get really angry at him trying to hurt me. Right now I'm very pregnant and it really, really affects me. So this evening at bedtime it happened, he was kicking hard and nearly kicked my stomach - I totally lost it, screamed at him, then left him in his room.

 

I come from a family where emotions were frequently suppressed. So, while I know I handled the situation very badly, there's a part of me that also feels that showing my emotion is maybe healthy and that to deal with each situation calmly is a bit "false" - although my screaming was clearly too much :(

 

I stress once more that he is an exceptionally loving person and I think he scares himself with these outbursts (that are not particularly frequent). He has also improved hugely over the last couple of years with managing his intense emotions, so I think he's on a pretty good path.

 

I guess my question is really about how whether it is healthy and appropriate for us, as parents, to show anger as we feel it, or should we always be "in control" of our own reactions, modelling the best way to react.

 

All thoughts much appreciated!


Happy mama to DS1 (2006), DS2 (2007) & DD (2012)

Mami_Feliz is offline  
#2 of 10 Old 05-08-2012, 04:39 PM
 
pbjmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,211
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I believe it is absolutely appropriate and necessary to show anger and other emotions. Emotions have a purpose - there are times to be angry and kids should know it is okay. If someone tries to hurt your child you don't want them to stand there and take it, right?

 

In this case I think having a conversation with your son when you are both ready would be good, along with an explanation of what you were feeling and an apology for screaming.

pbjmama is offline  
#3 of 10 Old 05-09-2012, 01:57 PM
 
Mummoth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 3,466
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

My son had anger problems due to a larger issue that was going on and was in counseling when he was 6. One thing the counselor taught us was called "Anger Mountain". You draw a picture of a mountain with a little mountain climber at the bottom and explain that when he gets angry, it's like he's climbing Anger Mountain. When you're up the mountain just a little bit, you're a little bit angry. When you're at the top you're so angry you're hitting and screaming. You can show him on the paper how it's easier to get back down if you haven't climbed to the top. And you talk about what kinds of things are good ways of calming yourself down. My son likes to go ride his bike or be in the yard, go take a shower, have privacy his room or go complain to his dad about me. Then you talk about what happens to your body when you feel angry.... your body feels hot, it's hard to sit still, etc. You want him to start to recognize when he's starting to get angry, you can say "Are you starting to climb Anger Mountain?"

 

It's really hard when there's a time-sensitive thing going on, like it's before school... you might need to let go of being timely for a bit, but it's important to leave him alone for 5 minutes if that's what he says he needs to calm himself down (you can make bedtime earlier that night so he'll be up earlier for school the next day and hopefully that'll give you enough time to deal with anything that pops up and still get him to school on time)

 

One thing that worked with him was, he'd be raging and nearly to the point where he was going to start hitting and I'd just ask "Do you need a hug?" I think it sort of shocked him out of the anger a few times. Other times he'd say "No!" but it changed the angle of the conversation anyway, and give me a chance to get a calm sentence in edgewise... I usually said something like "Okay, it seems like I'm really bugging you, you must want some space." and walk away. He isn't going to say "You aren't bugging me!" so it's really hard for him to continue arguing at that point.

 

It's okay to use an angry voice, and it's okay to say you're angry and you need to step away for a few minutes. When he goes to hit you it's absolutely appropriate to shout "Stop that, NOW!" You don't want to get overly emotional because if he gets the idea that he can push your buttons it might escalate things, but then being totally calm might give him the idea that it's okay to be out of control because you have endless patience to deal with it.


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

Mummoth is online now  
#4 of 10 Old 05-09-2012, 03:13 PM
 
Jen Muise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 233
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think being angry at being disrespected by anyone, including your child, is appropriate.  And yelling can be an appropriate expression of anger, especially since you were concerned about your & your baby's safety. 

Jen Muise is offline  
#5 of 10 Old 05-09-2012, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
Mami_Feliz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 94
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks for your very reassuring answers. Mummoth - I love the anger mountain suggestion. I think he would find that very helpful.

 

Yep - I can totally see how being calm and not reacting could give the sense that what he is doing is no big deal.

 

The asking if he needs a hug before things get out of control makes sense too. In fact today I asked him how he felt about the baby coming. Until now he has only expressed enthusiasm, but today he said it was making him feel bad. He likes the family as it is and we don't need anyone else. Plus, the baby will be so sweet that no one will want to be with him any more... I felt bad for him - he has a lot of big emotions in there right now.

 

I think I have always had problems with knowing how to deal with anger. I find it quite scary in other people and I grew up to think that it was very destructive. So, I try to suppress and be calm, then feel guilty when I don't manage that (pretty much what my son does, in fact!). When it does arise I'm going to really try to relax about just expressing it straight away and without guilt. I think that will really help change the dynamics and hopefully show him that it's okay for him to do that too.


Happy mama to DS1 (2006), DS2 (2007) & DD (2012)

Mami_Feliz is offline  
#6 of 10 Old 05-09-2012, 08:00 PM
 
Jen Muise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 233
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

One thing we have done is draw out your anger as an alternative (big scribbles in firey colors on huge pieces of paper usually), or play the stomping game, or sing a silly song about being mad.  Sometimes running around the house a few times can help.  Usually they think these things are dumb until you've demoed them a few times, tho. lol.

Jen Muise is offline  
#7 of 10 Old 05-09-2012, 08:33 PM
 
meemee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Norther California
Posts: 12,767
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)

first of all let me say his anger is very normal. he is going through first phase of puberty. it happens around this time in a dr jekyll mr hyde personality.

 

when he is in it - keep your distance. he has absolutely no control and cant do anything about it. put space between you guys and make sure he is safe and let him have it.

 

he is not always going to be that way.

 

your emotions - yes and no. i think its great to show appropriate emotions. but you cant expect him to behave himself and you go crazy (hypothetical situation - not saying that you do) in an inappropriate manner.

 

i have ALWAYS shown my emotions to dd - tears, anger, everything.

 

dd is 9. even at 6 she KNEW what appropriate was. but she could not control herself. once she passed that phase she was all done. she has never hit me ever again. however her anger still needed a place to come out. so we talked about the effects of anger. and she figured out she needs space when she gets angry. she asks that of her friends and family.


 treehugger.gif Co-parent, joy.gifcold.gifbrand new homeschooling middle schoolerjoy.gif, and an attackcat.gif 
meemee is offline  
#8 of 10 Old 05-10-2012, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
Mami_Feliz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 94
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:

when he is in it - keep your distance. he has absolutely no control and cant do anything about it. put space between you guys and make sure he is safe and let him have it.

 

Yes - totally agree. It's not fair to expect him to "control" it then get angry because he can't.

 

 

Quote:
your emotions - yes and no. i think its great to show appropriate emotions. but you cant expect him to behave himself and you go crazy (hypothetical situation - not saying that you do) in an inappropriate manner.

 

Just had a chat with DP about this - how sometimes we "lose it" (without the hitting and kicking of course) but expect him not to, when he is 6 and we are...considerably older. Hmm. This is where the word "appropriate" comes in I guess. And, I do think that we lose it because we're both trying too hard to control our emotions.

 

I'm really appreciating everyone's comments - this is an issue that I go over a lot in my head.


Happy mama to DS1 (2006), DS2 (2007) & DD (2012)

Mami_Feliz is offline  
#9 of 10 Old 05-15-2012, 01:15 PM
 
meemee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Norther California
Posts: 12,767
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mami_Feliz View Post

 

And, I do think that we lose it because we're both trying too hard to control our emotions.

I couldnt agree with you more. absolutely. when i see myself lose it (and yes i still do - and later apologize to dd but she very understandingly says mom i understand most of the time - example of what age does to you) its a time for ME to review MY life. it usually means my own needs are not being met and i need to figure out a way to do it. i tell you our generation of parents have to deal with so much. i dont think any parents before us have had to deal with soooooo much stress. 

 

kids are also under a LOT of stress. more than before.

 

we need to recognize this and do something about it - whatever do something means to  you. sometimes for me its just about sitting down and enjoying a glass of water. where it is only about you Feliz not Mami Feliz. 

 

if there is anything that has made me a better parent, it has been me making time for myself. and when i dont - it shows. 


 treehugger.gif Co-parent, joy.gifcold.gifbrand new homeschooling middle schoolerjoy.gif, and an attackcat.gif 
meemee is offline  
#10 of 10 Old 05-17-2012, 12:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
Mami_Feliz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 94
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

 

if there is anything that has made me a better parent, it has been me making time for myself. and when i dont - it shows. 

 

yeahthat.gif


Happy mama to DS1 (2006), DS2 (2007) & DD (2012)

Mami_Feliz is offline  
Reply

Tags
Children

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off