Holidays with our childhood family can bring out many emotions that have been tucked away during the rest of the year so we can function. Old feelings from childhood can emerge almost as strongly as when we were children. Our struggles with our childhood family can help us understand some of the emotional turmoil we have with our own children.
I find the concept of anger as a secondary emotion very helpful for getting to the source of the problem. So, when we are feeling angry with our children, realize that there can be a myriad of thoughts and beliefs about our children’s actions that are triggered from our childhood.
For example, if you get angry because your child ignores you when he first get home from school, why is that so? Is it triggering old feelings about being ignored and not considered important in your family? If you can understand the deep hurt that is clouding your reaction, then you have a greater chance of changing your reaction so you can be present to your child’s needs. You can change from thinking and reacting with anger, “my child needs to respect me and talk with me”, to “he seems to need a little space to settle in. I’ll give him a few minutes then approach him.”
I just love emotions. The more I understand them, the more they become my friend rather than a source of “external” control.
Enjoy my diagram of the umbrella. What emotions lie under your angry outbursts at your children?
©2012 Cynthia Klein has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with dads, moms and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking, webinars, and private parent coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the magazine Parenting on the Peninsula. Contact Cynthia at bridges 2 understanding, bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com or call 650. 341.0779.