Parenting through anger

A few weeks ago one of my children did something that she was not supposed to do.  She was reprimanded.  She was grounded.  I was angry and disappointed with her.  The next day the anger was still there.  And the day after.  Soon a few days turned into a week.  I had shut myself off from her.  I wasn’t as affectionate.  When we were in the same room, we weren’t talking.

 Picking our battles zones on the couch, her on one end and I across the room.  There was tension. Our two-week war softened here and there by her sneaking up behind me in different parts of the house, wrapping her arms around me quickly in a hug.  Hugs that were so fleeting.  She was trying to repair the rift between us.

My husband on the other hand was his jovial self.  He was as angry as I was, and as disappointed but he was still able to keep up the same relationship with her as he usually does.  I watched this and wondered how?  How do you parent your children through anger? I’ve been frustrated with my kids before, it happens.  I have four children.  I’ve felt a range of emotions.

This was the first time I felt a crack in the foundation in the relationship I have with one of my children.  I was honestly thrown by it.  My daughter knew I was still upset but I told her ” No matter how upset I am at you, I always love you.  ”   It was a huge ” aha” moment for me the minute that came out of my mouth.  I had never been told that when I was her age.

 My mother that told me she loved me, but not when she was angry with me. It was crucial then for me to really make my daughter understand that I still truly loved her through my anger at her actions.  I needed to make her realize that her actions are not who she is at heart.  They are what she does, and she will learn lessons by the consequences of her actions throughout her entire life. Just like I am still learning my own lessons every day.

 I saw clearly had I continued on the path of not really talking to her, how I would alienate her, and much worse begin to crack the solid foundation of her own self-worth. I watched my daughter who only turned thirteen a little while ago, struggle with herself, and our distance from each other.  I stopped right then and there.  I shut down that part of me that learned to associate anger by distancing myself.

 I tuned into the soft part of me, pulling from the very depths of myself the love and understanding she needed.   Not the mother I had experienced when I was a child.  It’s always possible to end cycles.  New ways to deal with situations can be learned.  I reminded myself of the life I wanted for my children.  I don’t want my childhood repeated for my kids.  They deserve better.   The next time I felt her walk behind me, I turned around and pulled her into my arms.

I kissed the top of her head and held her tight.  She relaxed and hugged me back.  It would be alright.  We would pull through this.  I knew in my heart and from my own experiences it was the first time, but not the last that she would make mistakes.  I knew it would be the first time & not the last for myself either that I would make my own mistakes dealing with hers. This is parenting.  It’s not always easy.  Sometimes you react from the way your own experiences taught you.

 If those experiences have not always been positive, the fantastic news is we can change.  Even my mother changed at the end of her life.  I don’t want to wait that long.  I don’t want my child to wait that long.

It’s life in progress.  In motion.  It’s in the moments of difficulty that we get rare glimpses of how beautiful and precious life is.  It’s in those moments that we see how we can change for the better.      How that is a priceless gift to ourselves and to those around us.  Turning the negative to the positive.  We are all capable of it.

Stay Positive and Pampered,

Xoxo

Patty

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Comments

  1. says

    Im sorry to read about your fight with your daughter, but am glad you were able to pull through and grow. The wisdom that comes from these little “aha” momemtns always amazes me. My daughter is nowhere near 13, but I will also have to remind myself (I’m sure) to tell her that I love her despite being upset.

    • Patty says

      Hi Kat! It was definitely not the first time we’ve had to reprimand or discipline but it was the frst time I was really angry and disappointed. In the long run though it’s just a bump in the road. Your turn will come too and when it does, I’ll be leaving you a comment too! and a virtual hug. ;)

  2. says

    Oh my goodness, I can connect with you on this one for sure! Except, I get angry with my daughter a bit more regularly. It is SO hard to be a parent when you are angry, frustrated, sad, disappointed. I just try my hardest to move on, but I know she can tell that I am still feeling the way I am. This is life though and I think that they need to learn that their choices and actions affect others and we won’t necessarily bounce right back.

    Like you, I always tell my children “I love you no matter what” – it is so important to me that they know this.

    My Mom used to say “I still love you, but I don’t like you right now” and that used to BREAK MY HEART! I won’t ever do that.

    xo
    Another AMAZING post, my dear! Thank you for sharing this. I want to reach through my computer screen and hug you!

    • Patty says

      Hi Amanda! It’s so hard to not treat our kids or say the things that were said to us to them. It’s challenging to find new ways to get through to our kids, without damaging their self-esteem but I know it’s possible. Hugs right back to you and thank you. :)

  3. says

    It is hard being a parent, especially, when our kids do things to upset us. Thank you for your honesty. I wish that I could give you a hug and tell you that everything will work out. It will take time to rebuild and repair the relationship but it is worth it. Your daughter still loves you and she will respect you in the long run for taking the time to discipline her.

    • Patty says

      Hi Christy! I wonder sometimes if parenting was as hard for our parents. Discipline was given out without guilt or feeling bad. It’s so important to teach our kids valuable lessons, and it always teaches us something too. Things are great between my daughter and I, I think it was a mix of anger and disappointment which was tough for me. My love for her will always win out though, and that’s what’s most important.

  4. says

    Beautiful and honest post :) My son is only 4 and am worried that I too would parent one day with anger, but i’m training myself now to hopefully avoid that path. I love to reason with him and talk to him about the cause and effect that just happened, I never want him to feel like he is beneath me or not worthy of my time.

    If we can communicate to each other and come to an understanding we are both end up in a good place (and a cuddle) and he says ‘sorry mommy’ , especially if he knows he messed up. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow for both of us. I hope that I can continue on this path with him as he grows.

    • Patty says

      Hi Leila! Thanks so much for stopping by. We talk with our kids a lot, and there is a great mutual respect and love between all of us. We are a very close family. I think that is so crucial in parenting kids today. I remember telling my mom she has no clue what it was to be a teenager, and she would tell me yes I remember. But really times changed from when she was a teenager. And they will keep changing. There is so much our kids have to deal with that we never had, like Facebook, social media. We have to teach out kids about life’s lessons, but also how they deal with them in the public eye. It’s much harder I think.

      I think given how your relationship is with your son, open, respectful, and you really listen when he talks, you will be fine when them more challenging times come along. And I’m only a tweet away. ;)

      • says

        Thank so much Patty. Yes times are definitely different and quite scary for sure. Love how close your family is which is how you were able to overcome your situation in your post above. It is SO crucial and communication probably gets tougher as the kids grow, time will only tell how my experiences go, but I’m thankful for people like you who post what you do. I will be following for sure :)

  5. says

    I’m sorry you had to experience this but I am so glad you shared your experience. My daughter is not quite at that stage yet but close. No one teaches you how to parent through anger, it is something we just have to figure out. Beautiful post.