ima_omi (ima_omi) wrote in gentleparents,

questions about anger

Hello all,

I am a 37-year-old mother of a glorious 16-month-old son. I come from a family of bathroom cryers; any "negative" emotion was hidden and disposed of in private, and grievances were rarely aired and discussed with the person they concerned. (More likely we'd, say, tell mom about what sister did that made us mad. I call it gathering an army.) As a result I don't know how to handle anger with my son. I want to create a more authentic emotional environment for him than I had growing up, and to give him the space to feel what he feels and talk it through. That depends, though, on being able to verbalize what's bothering you, and of course at his age, he cannot yet do that. So that's my question about *his* anger.

Then there's the question about *mine*.

I find, particularly as we're entering the toddler stage, that I am sometimes short-tempered with him, and that I don't know how to handle it. I sometimes have an explosive temper, which manifests itself in yelling and foul language, and sometimes jumping around. (Yes, it's true, I get hopping mad!) I hasten to add that I have *never* hit him or otherwise been violent toward him.

When my anger is toward a behavior of his that is not appropriate (kicking, grabbing, etc.) I first try to redirect his action. "Please use your feet to walk or to kick a soccer ball, not to kick a person. Nobody likes to be kicked." Then I might try to extricate him from the situation by picking him up and engaging him in something else. Failing that, though, I sometimes get mad and yell. I know he's not scared of me, because he mainly thinks it's funny when I get upset. (I'm sure I look ridiculous.)

I want to teach that everyone feels emotions and it's ok to express them. AND I want to teach that there are healthy ways of expressing them that don't hurt people. And yet I never quite learned those lessons in my bones...

Any thoughts or feedback?

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