Tag Archives: jump to conclusions

Fear—It’s what anger is really about
Angry child
“If only I didn’t get so angry!” Parents know their anger causes all sorts of problems—but what do you do about it?

Fear is what provokes anger. And fear is where parents live a great deal of the time.

He’s so mean to his sister, how’s he going to treat his wife?

She never listens. How will she ever get through school?

He is so violent. He’ll be in jail by fifteen.

She’s so bossy. No one will ever like her.

He’s addicted to screens. How will he ever interact with anyone.

Other kids listen to their parents. Why won’t mine? What have I done wrong?

Handling the problem that faces you in the moment requires staying in that moment with your child. Let’s say your four year old is having a meltdown to end all meltdowns. You have told him to stop hitting his little brother. He falls apart, screams and stomps, tells you to go away, screams “no” at every attempt you make to calm him down. It’s easy to let fear take over. What kind of a monster is he turning into? He can’t just hit his brother. He has to have a consequence? He’s never going to learn. What have I done to create this?

And fear leads to anger. It’s logical. If these fears sabotage rationale thinking, you will get angry at your child in an attempt to correct his behavior thereby alleviating your fear. (It really is all about us). Your job, after all, is to correct your child’s unsocial behavior and teach him to be kind. So you yell, scream, and threaten to take favorite things or activities. That will surely make him think twice and stop this horrible behavior.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Ending Power Struggles – Forever

When my daughter Molly was five, I was exhausted. I couldn’t see a way out of our daily power struggles. She was pushing all my buttons, and I was reacting with hostility. But it was the mental notes playing in my head that got me the most. I was worried we would fight always. Fortunately I was wrong.

One morning, the same whiny, angry face approached—but something was different. Every other morning when I saw this face, I thought to myself, “She’s out to get me.” This particular morning I thought, “Wait a minute, she’s not out to get me. She’s miserable.” Suddenly I saw her differently. Instead of a resistant, defiant—okay I’ll say it—brat, I saw a very upset little girl who didn’t want to separate from me. I was battling her and she was anticipating the battle. It was all she could do to get me to understand her, and I wasn’t cooperating.

My shift in perception—she wasn’t being a problem, she was having a problem—changed our relationship. My emotions switched from anger to compassion. Once I got there, I didn’t have to fight her anymore. We never had another power struggle because I didn’t engage.

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