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How to Use Your Anger in a Positive Way

Find out how to make productive use of your anger.

How to Use Your Anger in a Positive Way

It's a Good Idea!

The trick is to use your anger to effectively teach your child discipline while improving your relationship with your child. How? By being clear, direct, and genuine.

Anger is a strong emotion, closely related to passion, and it can be a productive emotion. When you're furious, and you express your anger cleanly and fairly, you teach your child that angry feelings can be expressed in a way that doesn't harm anybody.

How, then, can you manage your anger in a positive way? How can you redirect it? How can you problem-solve your way out of conflict? Here are few suggestions for dealing with anger, frustration, and so on:

  • Make sure to take enough space so that you can see clearly, without the blood pounding through your eyes and creating a fine, red, veil of rage. Go pound a pillow, cry, tear old newspapers into tiny shreds, or meditate and relax. How about pounding the pillow and crying, then relaxing?
  • Watch that you're not responding to the lowly straw that broke the camel's back as though the straw is the only reason the back is broken. In other words, if you've had a rough day—you dumped a pot of tea over your lap in the morning, you forgot your report at home before a major client meeting and had to go back for it, and you spilled shoe dye all over your pants, shirt, floor, and wall when it “exploded” as you were trying to open it—don't lose it and belt your kid when he calls you a “dork.”
  • If the world is a grim, hard place today, warn your family that they're in the presence of an ogre. This doesn't give you free rein to act like an ogre. Or, let them know that you're like an airplane out of control. Putting out warning lights on the runway as you attempt an emergency landing might keep others from being crushed as you crash.
  • Even if your reaction is to utterly blow it, try to pull it together to respond effectively.
  • Work as hard as you can to express your anger clearly. Use language that demonstrates your emotions, needs, and values. Using “I” statements to state what you are angry about, and what you would like changed, shows your child how strongly you feel about her, and her behavior.
  • Once a conflict has been resolved, check in with yourself to see how you really feel. Is the anger still there? Find a friend or shrink to vent on, or jot it down in a journal. Don't bottle it up (see “The Icy Chill of Withdrawal,” above).

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