Thursday, October 11, 2012

Uh Oh...Mommy's Losing It... Three Tips to Tame Your Temper

"Now get in your rooms and clean them," I heard myself say in a voice with that high pitched sound that is a cross between not wanting to scream and a sickly, syrupy sweet tone to get my point across:  I won't yell, but my kids always know I am close to losing it...

Please tell me that I am not the only one who feels this.  It creeps on you when you least expect it.  But when it comes, things fly out of your mouth before you realize it and there are hurt feelings.  It could be an offhand remark about not having time for the library even though you promised to go.  It could be angry words to your husband over the unfinished swing set.  It could even be a less than patient response to a complete stranger who disciplines your child for going through the revolving door at Panera more than once even though it was the first time he had ever been in a revolving door and you told him he could go twice! ( Wow, I think I need to let that one go...)

We all experience times when we get frustrated, hurt, and angry.  The actual emotion of anger is not the wrong thing.  

In fact, God knows we will be angry sometimes.  He got angry.  There is a story in the Bible where He got so angry, He messed up the Temple and overturned tables of the money collectors. You can read it by clicking here.

So God knew we would become angry.  "In your anger do not sin." Ephesians 4:26 NIV  

It was not if you get angry, it was when.

So, how can we overcome our anger?

In our house, we use the STOP, DROP, and ROLL.

I know...I am stealing that from every fireman talk you have heard, but it is so easy to remember.  And to put out anger is like putting out a fire that will consume you if you do not get it under control.

Ready to get your anger under control?

Start by considering these simple steps:

STOP and Take a Time Out

Time outs are not just for kids. Counting to 10 isn't just for kids, either. Before reacting to a tense situation, take a few moments to
breathe deeply in and out. In through the nose and out through the mouth. Oh wow, I sound like my lamaze instructor. But it works. I still use "cleansing breaths" even though my babies now range from 6 years to 12 years old. Slowing down can help not only bring your temper flare ups down, it brings necessary oxygen to the brain for proper thinking. You can also take a break from the person or situation until your frustration subsides a bit.

DROP to Your Knees and Pray.

You need to think before you speak. In the heat of the moment, it's easy to say something you'll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything.  Pray to God to give you patience.  Ask Him to give you clarity of the situation.  He created you and desires to give you power through the Holy Spirit in order to give you words and wisdom.  Call on that power.  The time talking to Him will only bring it into perspective so that you can continue to model calmness instead of angry outbursts to your kids.  

Ask the Lord to give you clarification on whether this is a moment of rebellion or something unique your child struggles with and needs your grace.  In the book Grace Based Parenting, Ted Kimmel describes the ability to talk about grace, sing about grace, and have our children memorize verses about grace – but not give them specific gifts of grace – is to undermine God’s work of grace in their hearts.  Grace not only means that God loves them even through they are sinners, but that He loves them uniquely and specially.” (p. 141)

ROLL With it by Understanding It

You need to indentfy the reasons why you are getting angry and possible solutions. Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child's messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Does your son refuse to wear a button down shirt for picture day? Get him a nice Polo. Take time to figure out what is really important in the whole realm of life. Is your husband late for dinner? Schedule meals later in the evening

Remind yourself that anger won't fix anything, and will only make it worse.

When the temper trials do happen, there are things to do in the situation which will help:

Forgiveness.  Ask the other person to forgive you if you lose your temper.  Forgive the other person for the action that caused you to lose your temper.  Remember that the person is most often not trying to get you mad.  My son is not purposely trying to irritate me by saying his underwear is too tight even though he said the same kind fit yesterday! In fact, I did go apologize to the lady at Panera.  I felt much better.  And after my son went through the door a few more times, I felt even better!

HumorLightening up can help diffuse tension. Laugh more and anger will not have a hold on you as much.  But, don't ever laugh at the person to try to help them laugh. And never use use sarcasm. Sarcasm is a thing that becomes a habit and it can hurt feelings and make things worse.

and the greatest of these is...

Love.  Remember to try to treat one another as you would have them treat you.  Behave to your family like you would if company were over.  Deal with situations regarding your children with the same compassion as you would another child.  

And always know that you were created with love by God and He gave you these moments to enjoy.  Anger will happen, but I pray you can step back,

DROP, and

and have many more happy MOMents instead.


Tiffiney said...

Great blog post, Angie! I hope that you are getting to share this message about coping with anger with MOPS groups. Moms need to hear this! Love you!!!

Angie said...

Tiffiney (Tiffy),

Thank you for your encouraging words. I would love to share my stories of grace with MOPS. That is such a neat organization! All moms need to know that there is the hope of Jesus!

Love you,
Angie said...

Prayer being key here... I don't actually experience anger very frequently, but I find myself becoming overwhelmed by sadness nearing depression. At 38 weeks pregnant, I think my emotions are getting the best of me, but the other night I found myself in inconsolable tears - my husband at a loss to help me - over all of the things in my life that feel as though they refuse to just 'fall into place'. Turning to God is something I KNOW I need to do, but it's as though I stubbornly refuse... my mind just doesn't go there - until after the fact, and I think 'obviously I can't do this alone - why didn't I ask YOU for help??' Thanks for this.

Angie said...

Dear Pink Bears,

I will be praying for you. I am sure emotions are crazy high for you right now with the hormones going all wacko being pregnant. I will pray the Holy Spirit will guard your thoughts and bring you praying first. And know I will be praying for a wonderful time of "calm before the storm." But also know I wouldn't trade that storm for anything!


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