When I was about 8 years old, I can recall sitting in the backseat of our family car when someone cut us off forcing my dad to have to swerve to avoid a collision. My dad reached under the seat to grab a lead pipe which he kept as a defensive weapon. He was going to go after the man who had cut us off. I can still hear my mother screaming at him not to do that because ‘the children are in the back seat.” Thankfully he gained control and stopped himself. The amazing thing is that that particular memory stands out after all these years while thousands of other potential competing memories have been completely forgotten.
Your children are always learning from you and about you based more on what you do than on what you say.
The next time you are tempted to unleash an angry rant in your home. Make yourself step back, calm down, temporarily retreat from the situation, and remind yourself that just letting go because it makes you feel better may be a very selfish act which affects other people in the house.
A renowned therapist named Terry Real writes about treating a woman with a severe anger problem who is also a writer named Jancee Dunn. After her treatment with Terry she wrote abut her experiences in a book titled: “How Not To hate Your Husband After Kids”
“Wheever you feel like lashing out, take out a picture of your children and say to yourself: I know that what I’m about to do Is going to cause you harm, but right now, my anger is more important to me than you are.”
Wow: What a powerful intervention to produce shocking awareness of what you are doing! Maybe you can think of other examples from your own life of how parental anger has affected you and your relationships.