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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Anger scorches kids and other sensitive folks

(Photo by David Shankbone)
Although there is some debate about whether "righteous" anger actually exists, there is little question that destructive anger certainly does.

According to Good Housekeeping, anger can be particularly destructive when it is let loose around children.  "Team Mom's" article on "The Danger of Yelling at Your Kids and Ways to be a Calmer Mom" drives that point home with plenty of real-life examples.

The article begins with a confession from the author about how she "lost it" with her very young son.  When he suddenly threw a water
bottle at the windshield of their moving car, "Mom" began shrieking at him. Venomous and shaming words spewed forth from her lashing tongue.  She had forgotten what most of them were until she later discovered that her cell-phone recording device had been accidentally left on that whole time.  She then had undeniable proof of the harmful course that her anger had taken.

Determined to change these ways, "Team Mom" began studying the effects of unrestrained anger upon children (and other sensitive souls).  She reports on these findings by PhD psychologist Matthew McKay:  Studies have shown that parents who express a lot of anger in front of their kids end up with less empathetic children.  These kids are more aggressive and more depressed than peers from calmer families, and they perform worse in school…

McKay also advises that there are lessons to be learned from controlled anger.  He says that because we all get angry sooner or later, "what really counts is how we repair things afterward."  "Team Mom" offers the following suggestions for processing anger in a way that minimizes trauma:  Focus on the other person's
reasons for acting out (they might be important ones); observe your own anger patterns and triggers; discuss marital (or partnership) issues in private; and role model the positive processing of angry emotions.       


Copyright November 17, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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