By Kimberly Macenko
Hello again from the Duke Campus. Last time, if you remember, we learned about composure and self discipline. A never ending, tough, learning lesson, right?
Principle # 2: Healthy, secure relationships require that we control our own upset. No one can make us angry without our permission.
With this principle, we are digging deeper into self discipline and learning about anger management as well. Sometimes when we, as parents and teachers, are frustrated with our children’s actions or behavior, we start to believe that our children are making us act negatively back in response to this behavior.
In the Conscious Discipline book, author Becky A. Bailey states that we see the world not as it is, but through a lense of judgement on what we think it “should” look like. When the world or a situation doesn’t fit into that, we are not happy. Becky Bailey shared this idea from a toddler’s perspective. A toddler is drawing a picture with crayon on a painted wall, when the parent takes the crayon away from the child, they become extremely upset. From the parent’s point of view, this is wrong, and just something we don’t do. But as a toddler, coloring is the good and normal thing to be doing. So, both parent and child become upset. For the parent his or her world isn’t being run the way he or she thinks it should be. Remember, the anger we, as parents and teachers, feel isn’t being forced upon us by our children but by an inner turmoil caused from within ourselves.
Want an assignment for this week? Then work on Commitment #1 from the book:
“I acknowledge that when I feel upset it is because the world
is not going my way. I am willing to spend more time working on
owning my own upset. I no longer want to give my power away
to others, then blame them for taking it. I want more control of my life.”
Learning how to recognize this inner turmoil and how to deal with it is the way to effective anger management. This can help us become better parents and teachers. Trigger thoughts are one of the components that cause anger and stress. A trigger thought distorts a situation, making it feel much bigger than it actually is. A skill we need to learn is changing these negative trigger thoughts into calming ones. As soon as we see these triggers we can start using techniques to shut them down. Tell yourself, “I can handle this, I am calm.”
When we approach situations calmly, we can make them more of a learning moment for our children. As they grow, this will help them build character and responsibility.
When our children act out, we need to see that they are trying to cope with frustration and disappointment instead of acting to deliberately hurt us as parents and caregivers. It isn’t about us, but about them dealing with their new world. Until next time, think of this:
“Self control is an act of love and a moment-by-moment choice.”