Once again I’m horrified by what I’ve witnessed on the news. A father kills his four children by throwing them off a bridge after an argument with his wife. The children’s ages ranged from the oldest at three years old and the youngest only four months old. I’m so deeply saddened, and my heart goes out to their mother.
I just don’t understand. How does a father kill his own children? Helpless creatures that have just begun to live, so innocent. Just because we bring these children into the world doesn’t mean we have the right to play God.
I just can’t imagine what kind of fear those children must have felt to have the person they trusted to take care of them drop them off a bridge into murky waters below to drown. It’s absolutely sickening to the very core!
Even as I write this I find myself choking back the tears. I just keep picturing my own children’s faces and wonder what possesses a parent to do such an awful thing. Of course as parents we all have bad days. It’s definitely not always “peaches and cream.” I’m not excluded here. For certain, there are days when I just want to “hang up the towel” and call it quits. It can be so discouraging at times. Being a parent is by far the toughest (yet most rewarding) job in existence.
So, I think we have to face the facts. Parenting’s not easy. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the stress of daily living, plus the added frustration of raising children. And a lot of times what comes out of the equation is anger. Yes, that ugly head usually surfaces to find us at our weakest moment. We find ourselves yelling at our children (perhaps even our spouses) to gain control over situations we feel we have no control over.
But we have to be prepared for moments like those. We have to understand and recognize when we’re feeling angry so that we can properly control it. And most importantly, so we don’t cause harm to those we love and those who love us in return.
The University of Minnesota Extensions published an article entitled Parenting Tools: Dealing with Your Own Anger. The article points out very good strategies for dealing with anger as a parent that I would like to share.
“Anger. It’s real. It’s normal. Everyone experiences it. However, you can find ways to express your anger that don’t hurt, belittle, or insult your children. It’s important to make anger constructive in working with your child’s behavior, not destructive by creating in children a desire for revenge or a feeling of rage.
Four Steps to Control Your Anger
- Stop! Pause for a moment and cool off. When something occurs that makes you really angry, step back, go into another room, be silent, take control of your feelings. This is not the time to discipline a child.
- Look and listen. Read the situation quickly. Try to determine what is really happening. How are you reacting to the misbehavior? What is really causing the child to misbehave?
- Think. Form a plan.
- Evaluate the problem: Does a problem exist? Whose problem is it— yours, the child’s, or both of yours?
- Have a purpose: What do you want your child to learn from how you react?
- Set goals: What do you want to get done right now?
- Consider alternatives: How many different ways could you respond to this problem?
- Act. Carry out your decision.
- Count to ten very slowly. Concentrate on the counting, regardless of what your child is doing.
- Put your hands in your pockets. This will help you resist the urge to use them to threaten or hit your child. Most parents spank their children when they are angry, not when they have cooled off.
- Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Pretend you are releasing steam from your body.
- Get away from the situation. Go into another room or take a walk. This gives both you and your child some time to cool off.
- Talk about the situation with your partner, a close friend, or a relative. Talking it through will help you develop creative ideas for dealing with the situation.
- Take time to think about how you’re reacting to the situation. Why are you angry with your child? Is it because you think your child is trying to make you mad by deliberately doing something bad? Is the child misbehaving because he wants attention, is angry himself, feels discouraged, or is looking for revenge?”
Anger can creep up so easily from all avenues of our lives. I hope these simple tips will help you not only if you have children but in all of your relationships. Life is so precious, don’t let it fall victim to the anger that may rage in you.
If you would like to read the above article in its entirety, please click on the link below.