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Angry Dad

QUESTION: I'm an angry dad. How can I control my temper?


"I'm an angry dad." How many times have you heard yourself saying these words? Parenting experts will tell you that when you get angry at your children, it is a sign that you are frustrated by behavior you feel is out of your control. Parenting is hard enough when you know what to do, but when you feel like you are no longer the parent, it can lead to many frustrating moments and feelings of anger.

Most children can sense when there is a lack of control in the household. If a father is not careful, frustrations caused by his children can eventually turn into resentment toward them. The end result is that the father becomes an angry dad. It doesn't have to be that way.

One thing that most parenting experts agree upon is that discipline performed in moments of anger is counter-productive for both the children and the parents. Children learn best when they are instructed; anger is not instruction, but a reaction. Discipline performed in anger often leads to confusion in the children. If angry outbursts become a pattern, they can build a sense of resentment in children that lasts for years and may be difficult to overcome.

As an angry dad, there are some techniques you can use to help diffuse your anger. I am a father of four children and have used most of these techniques myself with great results.
  • Keep things in perspective: Children love to test the waters. Getting angry about everything a child does wrong is not the answer. Anger clouds your judgment and leads to rash decisions that you're likely to regret later. Before you discipline, take time to think so you can discipline with a clear head and a loving heart.

  • Relax: It is hard to stay angry when you are relaxed. Once you get control of your anger, you will be able to deal with your children with a clear and sensible head. Some find breathing deeply helps them relax, while others like to repeat a phrase like "It is ok" over in their mind. Whatever you choose, it helps to have a plan in mind that you employ whenever you sense your anger being triggered.

  • Exercise: Go out for a run, ride a bike, or simply take a walk. Exercise is a good way to relieve tension and anger. When you exercise, your body releases hormones called endorphins which help to keep you in a good mood.

  • Talk: This one is often difficult because you have to talk to whoever is making you angry, i.e. your wife or kids - often the very last thing you feel like doing. It is important that all conversation is constructive rather than destructive. Consider having a moderator in case the conversation becomes heated. The moderator can make sure cooler heads prevail.

  • Change the way you think: For example, when you find yourself thinking that something is "terrible" or "the end of the world," train yourself to use words like "this is frustrating, but getting angry is not going to make it any better."

  • Seek professional help: If you consider yourself an angry dad, it might be time to seek the help of a licensed counselor. The counselor can help discover the cause of your anger and devise a course of action that will put you on the road to overcoming your anger.
These are a few suggestions for dealing with the "I'm an angry dad syndrome" that have worked for me. First and foremost, tell God you need to deal with it and ask him for solutions.

Learn More About Managing Anger!

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