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color page, feelingsI don’t think you can ignore the idea of exploring what you believe about expressing anger when you’re trying to stop the habit of yelling as a discipline strategy.  Obviously, parents yell out of frustration and anger.  You would probably agree with me that our society doesn’t seem to be very well versed in having a healthy perspective on anger.

As a child, you may have repeatedly watched your own parents explode and yell and maybe even become physically aggressive with you out of anger. It is not unusual for you to be using the same aggressive reactions that your parents used with you, on your own children.

Part of your work toward yelling less or using more effective discipline is to understand how you can appropriately express anger. It isn’t realistic to believe that you will never be upset or angry when your child behaves inappropriately.

Day 7

Learn to appropriately express anger. Your children under the age of 7 are learning so much from you about the world through making mistakes, creative play, and imitation.  Who are they imitating?  You!  Anger is an emotion and you want to be able to model how to handle strong emotions to your children.

The first place to start in learning more appropriate expression is to be sure it’s really anger you are feeling. Could you be masking another feeling?  If you were punished for being emotional or even labeled “sensitive” or “a drama queen” growing up, you may be using anger to cover up your real feelings of being hurt, frustrated, disappointed, or afraid.

I read a lot of books and blogs and take pages of notes on things I love. Unfortunately, I can’t give credit to the person who came up with these 5 steps because it isn’t in my notes.  If you know who you are – please reveal yourself – they’re great tips to follow once you’ve discovered that you’re truly angry!

1. When you are upset, say so in an upset or angry tone of voice.

Let your whole body speak the message in a straightforward, assertive manner-not aggressively or passively. Say what you are feeling in a firm voice. Your tone can convey anger without a loud scream or a shaky whisper.

2. Tell your child your feelings.

“I am angry!” It is critical that your body and mouth are saying the same thing. To grab the coat and throw it on the floor and say that you are not upset about anything is passive aggressive. To say in a soft whisper that you are angry is to not involve your body in delivering the message. In fact, if you quietly say you are angry, anger is probably masking another feeling.

3. State your belief out loud but avoid killer statements.

“I believe each one of us needs to pick up our own dirty clothes and put them in the laundry basket.” Avoid comments such as “You never pick up your clothes.” “You are such a slob.” These killer statements only attack the other person.

4. Close the time gap between the hurt and the expression of that hurt.

Give direct feedback. Tell her what she has done. “This week I have picked up your crayons and paper every day. You dump them on the living room floor and leave them there.”

5. State what you want.

“I want you to pick up your crayons and put them in the box and put the box in the drawer.”

Write these 5 steps on a sticky note and hang it up on your mirror for practice! Let me know your struggles and triumphs as you retrain yourself during your fitful moments.

This post included in Real Life’s Your Life Your Blog