taking charge of anger around kids

A friend's status update asked the question on anger, he asked "When you are angry, do you work out your anger in the right direction? Or do the people closest to you pay a premium to be in your presence?  Are you able to separate the fields of your life, so that you can honor those who deserve honor, and deal appropriately with those who require dealing?". 

As a parent, I can tell you, usually my kids get the butt of my temper :-(  because I'm around them most.  Yes, I loose my cool some times.  Thank God, they're not counting, and that they forgive easily !!!  I can be upset at them and literally, within minute, we would be laughing and I am showered with kisses.  They are great aren't they ?  But does that make it OK to take out our anger on our kids ?  answer is NO !  It's not healthy to take out our anger on our kids.  They don't understand what's going on, don't understand the concepts of things.  They are kids so they think like kids !!!  Try to understand that.
 
I'm one of those who can take a lot of crap, can put up with a lot, so it's not easy to get me mad.  Frustration ? yes.  Agitated ?  yes.  Angry ?  rarely.  However, everything changed since the arrival of my 2nd baby !  Some how, both of my kids know just all the right buttons to press, together, at the most opportune time, to get me clench my teeth and go ggggrrrrrrrrr ....

The other day, my mom and I got into an argument.  A typical mother/daughter moment that I'm sure most moms out there can relate.  We have conflicting ways of how we want to raise my kids.  Like I would give Bee time out and my mom would run over and took her out of the timed out spot, saying she's a baby, no time out !!!  My authority not only squashed but she unintentionally tell my daughter that bad behaviour is tolerated.  It's hard to explain to mom why time out is necessary in my broken vietnamese.  We normally are loud at home so my daughter can't tell if we're just talking or arguing :-/ but I'm sure she can tell, by the looks on our faces, it's not a happy conversation. 

After our loud "conversation", Bee came over to me, jumping up and down, asking to go outside, out to the garden and play (like we always do each morning).  I told her to hold on, to wait.  But no, she refuses to hear me and keep on going back and forth, pointing outside and escalated her voice into something like a whiny scream.  I was frustrated already, my mind was still focus on my convo with my mom, so even though I'm hearing what my daughter is saying, I'm not really hearing her.  Just then, Lovebug decided to join the fun and screams on top of her lung ! laughing in shrieking tone, at herself, at the high pitch noises she made !!!  It was all around a maddening moment.  I was annoyed and frustrated beyond belief.  Then Bee spilled her milk.  That was the last straw !!!  I lost it.  I was on top of my lung, screaming, putting everyone on timed out.  There were tears everywhere.

I told Bee we're not going outside and right then I saw Bee's down casted face, tears streaming, and a puzzled look, one that asked "what did I do ?".  Then she said "mommy no love Bee".  I immediately feel bad.  She doesn't understand what's going on.  I remembered my 10 second rule (more on that later), I have to choose then, my daughter or soaking myself in my frustration.  I so need to control my temper !  Why am I letting it controlling me and effecting my kids ?  Bee is not the source of my anger, and even if she is, I have to learn to express my anger properly !  like telling Bee why I'm mad, what makes me upset !  I need to walk her through my anger so she understands, and as a result, she will learn express herself when she's frustrated or upset also.

We went out and played in our garden for a long time that morning !  We had so much fun and the time outside allowed me to cool off and get over things.  I get over things pretty fast :-)

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The more I'm around my kids, I learned so much from them.  They are like little spies, it's scary !!!  Not only I'm responsible for feeding them when they're hungry, or thirsty, but for entertainment, for learning new things, to understand how things work, to learn about boundaries, what's good, what's bad, what's fun, what's awesome, the science of things, how to explain their feeling, how to express their frustrations and angers.  I need to model good behaviour, need to learn to express my anger and handle my temper rightly.  I can't just raise my voice, being harsh in words and actions.  I need to tell my kids why I'm upset, and let them know that I'm not mad at them.  They are constantly WATCHING me !  watching my every moves, seeing if I live as I say.  They will call me out if I don't !!!

My hubby was the one who got me to take a "hold still" when I'm angry.  He said "I know you're upset, but it can wait !  you need to address Bee first.  She doesn't know what's happening, talk to her, explain things to her, then go back to your anger". That's the thing with me, whenever I get upset over something or someone, all the light in my world are all focused on them. They got hold of all of my attentions, all my brain cells. Usually, I would work through it with myself or with C, or with the person that I'm angry at, that's how it's always been. BUT now with a baby and a toddler, I need a new habit, need a new way to handle anger around my kids, without taking it on them.

So now, whenever I'm angry, and the kids are around, I take a pause !  I have to remind myself to "hold still", take 10 seconds, to breathe and think, what example am I setting for my kids.  EVEN IF MY KIDS ARE THE ONES DRIVING ME UP THE WALL AND DOWN AGAIN.  I have to breathe in and out, and stay chill !  If I must yell, I do it !  and after I tell my daughter why I'm yelling :-)

It was hard at first, but surprisingly, by keep reminding myself to take 10 !  that 10 seconds of self evaluation, to think things once over, helps me so much.  And I have to choose my daughters over and over and over every time when something threw me off balance.  I tell myself, here's my chance to show my kids how to properly handle anger, disappointment, displease, frustration, sadness...

 

I know if I do it enough it will be a habit, a good habit.  I want my family to have the best of me, want them to be my first priority !  I don't want to bring my issue with someone into our home, take out my frustration on the people I love.   I just care about them too much.