Many parents will be able to relate to this topic as we all experience it at some level.
How can we reduce anger?
This is not inclusive to parents with a child with PDA, or to those with an identifiable additional need, but can be relatable for any parent in general.
Our kids get angry. We, as parents, get angry.
It’s a normal part of our make-up. A heathy emotional response that makes us human.
But…and here’s the magic but.
Anger is not deemed acceptable in our society and it’s not something we readily admit to.
We tell our kids all the time, ‘don’t be angry’.
Yes that emotion you’re feeling right now, it doesn’t exist.
And then, furthermore, how do we respond as parents?! Oh yeah, we get angry and shout right back at them (the thing we just told them off about that we said shouldn’t exist!).
Queue the meltdown.
I know that for us, particularly as we are parenting at the extreme, we can hold our hands firmly in the air and admit that we have become an angry family for a whole host of reasons.
Our #SEN child gets angry, her siblings both get angry and I find it hard to not get angry by trying to contain all their anger! Our family unit is broken because that red beast we call anger got the better of us.
So I have been working on a very insightful course (which is free to parents in my area if their child has an identifiable additional need) and is run by the fantastic ladies at Families In Focus. Click here for further information for the support groups/courses they have coming up.
The course is aptly titled Handling Anger in Your Family.
This week we were focusing on all of the places we hold anger in our bodies and then contrasted them with some great ways that could release this pent up emotion before it explodes.
Looking at the collective list we had made, we realised we rarely made time in the day for any of these activities.
Then one of the parents said the following quote which I thought summed up parenting for most of us:
What an insightful comment to have made.
Moreover, WHY don’t we make the time in the day to have fun?
Are we so bogged down with our highly-pressurised lives to enjoy ourselves?
Could that be part of the reason we all get so angry?
What kind of subliminal message are we teaching our children?
I now try to use both humour and the art of distraction to dispel anger before we hit breaking point.
A good friend of mine once confessed to me her ultimate strategy to reduce anger. Her family often have their funniest times together at the moment their anger hits overload point.
So what do they do?
They often have socks and knickers fights in the bedroom and then revisit what led to the incident at a more calmer moment.
So I took this on board and invented our own individual family strategy.
Ok so here goes the bit I really shouldn’t be sharing over the internet, we … *coughs out loud* put our underpants on our heads when we are angry.
Cue the call tomorrow from social services!
It started as a surprise the first time. I threw them on my PDA’er when she was in the red mist that had sent her over to the point of no return. She looked at me like I had gone barking mad and then out of nowhere her grimace began to creak into a smile. She put them back on me, “oh no,” I jested, “mummy has to wear the angry pants!”
They really took it on board.
Now you can hear the fits of giggles that echo from the house (for a change!) when they have stolen a pair of character pants and thrown them over their baby sister because they recognised she was having a tantrum.
Yes, we are dysfunctional and mad but maybe, just somehow I am teaching my children a more important life lesson.
Take the time in your day to release your anger, it’s a healthier way of living.
Maybe by having more fun some of the problem may just slip further away without us even noticing it.
The novelty of wearing the angry pants has now worn off (as happens with a great deal of our PDA strategies), but it’s in my pocket for a rainy day.
I’m hoping that by recognising the ‘why’ and ‘where’ we get anger might now lead me to finding the ‘how’ I can solve it for our delicate family.
Anger will present differently for each unique person.
So, anger can be reduced, but we need to discover what works best for every individual in order to reduce it.
Try putting underwear on your head when you’re feeling frustrated. You might just feel better for it 😉.