Some of the most peaceful, loving well-intentioned parents end up with children who appear to be extremely angry. Some of these children become violent, uncontrollable, and cannot be maintained in the home during their teenage years. There are a variety of reasons that could cause such an escalation in anger. The purpose of this article is to dispel a critical myth, and to make certain that parents become aware of the patterns of their own behavior, which can increase and escalate anger.
Caution: Venting Anger…Increases Anger And Aggression.Over the years, the research has developed one indisputable conclusion. To encourage children or adults to vent their anger with aggression…as a solution to their anger is unhealthy. I just reviewed a study completed at Ohio State University, in which this finding was reiterated once again. When encouraged to express anger and to vent feelings of anger, children and adults may find temporary relief, but the overall effect is an increase in anger. What’s the implication for parenting? There are two critical points which I want to emphasize here. The first is the need to…
1. Be Cognizant Of A Pattern Of Anger.It is important for parents to recognize the difference between an angry outburst and a pattern of anger. An outburst is an incident that appears situational and rapidly dissipates. This would be a typical child reaction, regardless of the age of a child. This does not constitute a pattern of anger. However, if you have a son or a daughter that is easily angered, then it is time to be concerned. If your son or daughter is easily provoked to outbursts of anger, then you must first recognize that you are dealing with a pattern of behavior. Secondly, in the event that you have a pattern of anger, then it is likely that (but not always)….
2. Angry Outbursts Tend To Repeatedly Pull Parents Into The Anger.
The first distinction here is that you want to become aware of whether or not a pattern exists. If there is a pattern of anger and the unhealthy expression of anger, then you must be cautious not to engage the anger. What do I mean by this? If you find yourself attempting to calm your child, soothe them, or help them to get through their anger, on a consistent and repeated basis, then you likely have a problem. The problem is that your engagement of that behavior, serves to promote the expression of the anger. Let me say it more simply: The repeated attention you give to the moments of anger actually serve to promote and encourage the anger. Over time, the anger will simply escalate, despite the fact that your assistance may ultimately calm each individual situation – for a while. In other words, by assisting your child in calming down, they may be able to do so. Early on, it may only take five minutes. A year or two later, it takes fifteen minutes. Within another year or two, the outbursts can go on for half an hour to an hour. During this time, the child’s behavior can escalate into more aggressive and threatening actions. Notice what’s happening here: Your child should be learning to handle their emotions, but instead they are learning to be more and more dependent upon you to handle their emotions. This is a formula for failure.