My life got somewhat out of hand in the past week and I didn’t get around to posting the wrap up of the anger management session, and now we’ve had a whole session in between. I’m sorry! I feel like it was too important to leave behind, though, so better late than never!
TWO Thursdays ago we had Lois Coleman Neufeld from Mediation Services come speak to us on how to deal with anger as mothers. It is a tough topic to dive into, but from the discussion around the circle, I think many of us were grateful to finally have a chance to talk about it and hopefully find some new approaches to try.
She started by defining anger. The most important part of the definition is that anger isn’t positive or negative, it just is. It happens. It’s a physiological reaction in our bodies, and understanding how we tend to respond (fighting, fleeing, or trying to calm down) and that each response is appropriate at different times, is important.
We talked about how anger is triggered, and that there is always an underlying emotion behind our anger – fear that our child will be hurt, impatience and frustration that they are as slow as molasses, embarrassment at their behaviour in front of others, etc. Addressing those emotions in ourselves is a big step in handling our response to the situations that make us so very angry with our children.
We talked about how the physiological reaction that raises our heart rate, blood pressure, and fight-or-flight response peaks at the same time that our better judgment has completely tanked, so the decisions and reactions that we make in the throes of anger are not the most rational ones. Depending on the type of situation, sometimes it’s a good idea to retreat (flee) or take on the subject of our anger (fight), but with small children often we need to find a way to get over the hump of irrational rage so we can deal with them appropriately. Sometimes that means choosing our battles so we avoid getting angry over things that don’t matter. Sometimes, if they’re physically safe, it’s best to remove ourselves from them for a few minutes to take some deep breaths.
What did you get out of the session (if you can remember back that far)? What works for you, or really doesn’t work? How have your methods of handling anger changed with having kids, and then as they’ve gotten older?