I know it’s difficult not to get mad at children when they exhibit certain behaviors, but if we truly want our children to learn the lesson or get the message, we need to work on ourselves first to remove our anger. When we’re mad we just can’t think straight and we end up either saying or doing something we often regret later. But probably the real reason to control our feelings of anger is that our anger frightens our children.
Let’s think of a few examples of things children do that might anger us and how what we do affects them. Suppose you have at least two children. One is probably bigger than the other, stronger, older, more capable of causing pain to the other. When you witness the larger child hurting the younger child, perhaps repeatedly, naturally you get mad and want to punish the hurtful child. You want to make sure that child doesn’t hurt the younger one again and you don’t mind it if your older child gets a little scared of you or your anger if that causes the child to stop hurting the little sibling. Ah, if only it would work out that way. But the older, stronger child doesn’t say to himself, “Oh, I’d better not hit my little sister again, it might hurt her.” No, instead what the older child says to himself is, “Gee, the next time I hit her I’d better make sure that Mom can’t see me doing it.”
Or perhaps you’ve invited your friend and her child to a play date at your house. When your friend’s child arrives, your child refuses to let that friend play with any of her toys. Every time the guest selects a toy, your daughter runs over to her and takes it away. You try to reason with your child but she will have nothing to do with that and acts in a stubborn manner when you try to get her to share. When your guests leave, you send your child to her room and tell her that she will never have any friends if she continues to be so selfish and unwilling to share her things. Your voice indicates you’re angry and so does your face. When your child sits in her room, she doesn’t think to herself, “Next time a friend comes over I’ll share my toys.” Instead she thinks, “Next time someone comes over I’ll hide all my toys so no one will know where they are but me.”
… to be continued
Director/Elementary 1 Teacher