Losing Your Cool
You’ve had a bad day, and you’re exhausted. You worked as hard as you could at your job, but your boss still wants more. The traffic on the way home was a nightmare, and you realize as you open the door that you forgot to stop for bread. You will have to go out again to the grocery store before you can pack school lunches for the following day. As you walk, all four children are in a heap on the floor fighting over a tennis ball. One chair has been overturned, school books are scattered everywhere, and water is dripping off the edge of the end table where a cup has been knocked over. The emotional temperature in the room is high, very high! Many parents would “lose their cool” at this point, or they would at least raise their voices—“just in order to be heard,” right?
The kind of immediate response you will have to the above scenario will likely depend on your temperament and the way you have learned to manage your anger across a lifetime. If you sense your own emotional temperature may negatively affect your behavior, you may wish to say something like, “We really need to talk about this. I’m sure we can find a way to work things out, but right now I’m afraid I might not be able to listen very well. I might say hurtful things. Can you give me some time to get my thoughts and feelings together while you do the same? Then we’ll talk.” It’s always easier to move toward a good solution when everyone involved has had a chance to settle down. If your child needs calming, perhaps your spouse can soothe them. Remember that a few minutes can seem like an eternity to a child. Promise to talk soon, and make every effort to resolve the issue as quickly as you can do so responsibly. Of course, your children need loving discipline. However, godly parents do not discipline in anger, but to lovingly train their children. (Hebrews 12: 5-11)
To use up some of your excess emotional energy, it may help to sweep the floor, go for a walk around the block or rake leaves outside. These kinds of activities can help you gain control of your emotions so you can better address problems in ways that promote positive relationships. If such measures do not help, you may be experiencing more than the “garden variety” anger that all humans experience. Be good to yourself and your family. Seek the professional care of a trained counselor, pastor or physician before unresolved anger damages relationships further.
From Jumpstart Connections, p. 93 by Karen Holford and Karen and Ron Flowers.