Five Steps to Cooling Your Anger
With Your Kids
New Life Ministries
It is normal to become angry from time to time, but the way you
handle your anger with your children is important. Here are some
Step 1: Realize you’re feeling angry.
Recognizing early warning signs of anger gives you time to deal
with your feelings before they become destructive. These red-flag
warnings include feeling hot, cold, paralyzed, tightened muscles,
churning stomachs, or a desire to cry. When you pay attention
to your unique red-flag warnings, you can realize that your anger
countdown has started.
Step 2: Distract yourself from your anger. Anger
always brings about physical energy. A distraction helps to relieve
tension. A few distractions might include the following: taking
a walk, running, hitting a pillow, taking a shower, singing, taking
ten deep breaths, counting out loud, playing a musical instrument,
reciting a bible verse, telephoning someone, watching a funny
Step 3: Recognize the underlying cause of the anger.
Ask yourself questions about your physical condition
first: Am I tired? Do I need exercise? Have I been eating too
much or the wrong kinds of food?
Then ask questions about your psychological state: Am I thinking
negatively about something? Am I worried? Has my child mirrored
a bad habit of mine?
Finally, look at your spiritual status: Am I not trusting God?
Do I have unconfessed sin? Do I need to forgive someone?
Step 4: Analyze your thinking for incorrect assumptions.
Many times we become angry because we assume an idea is true when
it is not. These underlying assumptions warp our thinking, yet
we believe we’re basing our attitudes and actions on truth.
Stopping to evaluate our thinking by examining Scripture and by
sharing our ideas with others will help us identify wrong ideas.
Once we do, anger will not have as much fuel to feed it. Here
are a few wrong assumptions:
- “Being financially secure will take away my problems.”
- “If my husband would cooperate with me, I could be
happy and content.”
- “Since I’ve made so many mistakes, my children
can’t grow up to be emotionally healthy adults.”
- “If I hadn’t had children, I would be happy and
have fewer problems.”
Step 5: Verbalize anger appropriately. This
means using I messages instead of you messages. You messages express
blame, as in, “You make me angry.” As a result of
you messages, the other person usually responds defensively and
is not open to hearing our feelings or ideas for solutions to
On the other hand, I messages express how we feel without telling
the other person what to do about it (unless he or she asks).
I messages express our needs and may be more conducive to someone
really listening. An example would be “I feel angry when
my needs are ignored.”
Besides watching the wording, we need to monitor our motives.
We should not use I messages to try to subtly change the other
person. Instead, we should honestly share our feelings while trusting
God to control people and circumstances. I messages are most often
effectively used with another adult, not a child. This will help
us to avoid displacing our anger from an adult to a child. With
children we need to use “consequences for their disobedience”
in order to train them.
We can also verbalize our anger by calling a friend, professional
counselor, or pastor. We could share our feelings within the safety
of a support group or by writing them in a journal.
Excerpted from the book The Christian Mom’s Answer
Book compiled and edited by Mike Yorkey and Sandra P. Aldrich.
Used by permission of New Life Ministries. Help is available,
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have resource materials about
anger and we have caring Christian professionals available to
speak with you. You can contact us at 1-800-NEW-LIFE. or visit
our Web site at www.newlife.com.
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