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.
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.
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.
Lightening 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.