Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Parenting Class: Overcoming Anger

I was excited for this topic in Sunday's class. In raising children and being pulled in several directions at once, at times I can feel the anger boiling inside me. Sometimes I control myself. Other times I'm at my wit's end and give in to the frustration.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, our prophet who recently passed, said, "Temper is a vicious and corrosive thing that destroys affection and casts out love." He also once said something to the effect of, "Yes, I believe you shouldn't spare the rod...the fishing rod, that is." (referring to his aversion to corporal punishment.)

It is helpful to acknowledge the costs of anger. These are things that our anger costs us. It might be that we are training up a child to later become rebellious; it might be the feelings of security your child has with you; peace in the home; closeness with your child, etc. These are things you give up by giving into anger.

Our objectives of this session were:
1. Become aware of the devastating effects of uncontrolled anger on family members.
2. Understand how you become angry and the need to take responsibility for anger problems.
3. Learn ways to control and overcome anger.
4. Develop a relapse prevention plan so that anger problems do not recur.

We received a worksheet entitled, "Identifying My Anger Cycle" which looked like this:

*Describe the typical situations that trigger your anger (for example, spouse argues with me; bank account is overdrawn; house is in disarray):______________________________
*Describe the thoughts or justifications that feed your anger (for example, my spouse doesn't care about anyone but herself; my husband is totally irresponsible):_________________
*Describe the feelings underlying your anger (for example: disrespected, used, ignored):_____
*Describe the physical cues that indicate you are getting angry (for example, sweaty palms, rapid heart rate, tenseness, irritability):____________________________________
*Describe what you do that feeds your anger (for example, dwelling on the offense, refusing to talk about it, drinking alcohol):_______________________________________
*Describe how you act out your anger (including your worst behavior):________________
*Describe your thought, feelings, and behaviors after acting out your anger (for example, relief, guilt, sorrow, contrition):__________________________________________

Below are several principles for helping you overcome anger-related problems. Find the ones that work best for you:

*Resolve underlying problems
*Take responsibility for your anger
*Identify your anger cycle
*Keep an anger log
*Defuse anger-provoking thoughts
*Get out of the situation
*Identify activities that calm you down
*Share underlying feelings
*Seek spiritual change
*Prevent relapse

I'm saving the best part of the lesson (for me, at least) for last. This hit home for me. This was one of the homework assignments we received: "Using coping statements." Think about anger-provoking situations you typically encounter. Write coping statements that will help you avoid getting angry in those situations. Rehearse responses to anger-provoking situations using these coping statements. For example, Mira might have put yet another roll of toilet paper in the toilet. My initial thought is one of irritation and "She's done this so many times...I've told her not to do it and she should know better!". Instead, my coping statement might be something like this, "She's only 2. This is normal mischief for this age. I'm not going to accomplish anything by getting angry." Our teacher told us that we should practice these coping statements like an athlete training for the big race. Say them again and again so when the time comes when you might become angry, they'll easily come to mind.

I hope this is useful for you. There is so much information presented in class, in our manual, and handouts. I'm just sharing what stood out most for me. I challenge you this week to pick out something presented here to help you in overcoming anger. I'm working on the coping statements. It's been helpful!


Maren and Blake said...

This is all so helpful. My mom also suggests that it is ok to get mad and show your children the appropriate way to show your anger, which wouldn't include yelling, hitting etc.

She has told me that's the problem with many parents is they either show their emotions in the wrong way or are too afraid to show their emotions because their kids will be 'ruined'.

Instead, if you are angry, sad, frustrated, etc show you children the proper outlet for it. If frustrated don't yell, but explain why you are frustrated and what you are going to do to remedy your feelings.

So many kids are told to 'hide' their feelings or act out their emotions in extremes. It's all about education, for both the parent and the child.

Wow, this was long. I hope it makes sense. I really appreciated this post. I think I need to take the quiz and really sit down to help with my anger sometimes. Being at home with just Braden can be overwhelming, I don't know how it will be with 2 or more.

buildingburkmemories said...

You know I resort to anger by yelling I guess at them instead of saying it calmly and that's only when I have been dealing with it all day long..I really don't have anger problems and that is probably because I grew up in a home where my mom was very angry all most all the time and I have wanted to be nothing like that at all..so I guess it has made me try to be a better person that is for sure to my kids that is. now when it comes to my husband, I might get upset a little bit easier....but only when it has been something that has truly offended me and I have been working on this for a long time to not get over worked by things that are offending me and let the spirt take control instead. Any way good luck on this change in your life and I'm sure and confident that you will do wonderful in this task.

buildingburkmemories said...
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