Every parent feels angry sometimes – anger is a normal human emotion, and it is normal to feel angry when you are a parent. But if you get angry a lot or you have trouble controlling yourself when you are angry, it is good to have some anger management techniques ready to go.
Anger can be a good thing, it can give you the energy to stand up for what you believe in or to get something done. Managing your anger in positive ways can also give you the chance to set a good example for your children (when you walk away or take a few deep breaths rather than exploding, you show your children how to behave).
Anger can be negative too, especially if it happens a lot, or it gets out of control. Losing your temper when you are angry can make problems worse and lead to conflict with others. When you do not give yourself time to calm down, you might say or do unhelpful things that cannot be taken back.
As a parent, you are probably balancing many demands including work, family time, household chores, children’s activities, and social activities. When you are busy and tired, it is easy to feel angry when things do not go to plan.
There are other factors that can make you more likely to feel angry, like:
- stress at work
- financial difficulties
- lack of sleep
- not enough time for yourself
- feel you are being pushed to the limit.
It might feel as though you just explode with anger without warning, but your body actually gives you early signs of anger, including:
- faster heart
- churning stomach
- agitation – that is, feeling tense or cranky
- faster breathing
- tensing shoulders
- clenching jaw
- hands sweating.
Simple anger management ideas
Step 1: Identify your anger
The first step to managing your anger is to notice the early signs. It is important to know and say that you are angry, even if it is just to yourself.
Step 2: Try to calm down
Once you notice the early signs of anger, you can do a few things to calm down. Here are some ideas:
- Take a big breath and sigh. Try to slow your breathing.
- Do something that soothes you, like listening to some music or just looking out the window.
- Go outside for a run or walk.
- Take a warm shower.
- Go somewhere quiet for a few minutes.
Step 3: Reflect on the situation
If you feel you have calmed down, it might be a good idea to reflect back on the situation and think about what has just happened. This can help you learn from the experience and handle similar situations better.
If you are finding it hard to control yourself when you are angry, it might help to talk to a health professional. You could start by seeing your doctor, who can help you make an anger management plan. If you are so angry that you feel you might hurt your child, seek help immediately.