Thursday, January 9, 2014

Keeping Your Cool, When You Aren't


Anger Management The Geek Parent Way

Of course, we will start out with wise words from Yoda:

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” 
(Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999))

Now, it is not likely that the anger that flares up while dealing with your children is THAT strong, and we love our children. But, there is an important idea there. WHY are we angry about our children's behavior? There is a good case to be made that it is fear that triggers that anger. Fear you are not a good parent. Of your child never learning important lessons about acceptable behavior. Maybe even a fear your child is controlling you. Whatever it is, trying to find the base of the emotion, the trigger, will give you a jumping off point for changing your fate.

What do we do in the mean time? We have rolled the dice, our children are here, our destiny is now, and once again you are being ignored and you.are.pissed at your child. It may not always work to stop and consider our darker demons when the red dragon is rising to the surface and we can feel the fire of our voice rising in our throats.

How does Bruce Banner keep the Other Guy under wraps? Yoga? Meditation? No. 

"That's my secret, Cap: I'm always angry." 
(The Avengers (2012))

I'm not suggesting your keep a running thread of anger just under the surface. What I do say is: accept your anger. You are ANGRY! You have every right to feel the way you do. Your feelings are valid. Feel them. Feel, but don't let them control you. Don't let the monster take over.

Often, we get stuck in this rut of just feeling angry and put out by our children's needs and demands all the time. It does become that running thread of emotion just under the surface, looking for a chink in our armor.

Harry Potter: "I just feel so angry, all the time. What if after everything that I've been through, something's gone wrong inside me? What if I'm becoming bad?
Sirius Black: "I want you to listen to me very carefully, Harry. You're not a bad person. You're a very good person, who bad things have happened to. Besides, the world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters. We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." 
(Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004))

We are human, and therefor aren't perfect. Most of us will fail to uphold our values of gentle parenting at some point. When that happens, we have a decision to make. Allow the darkness to take over, or strive on for the light. Apologize to your child. Make it clear they do not deserve that kind of treatment, no matter their behavior, because you love them and want to be the kind of parent they deserve (that Harry never even had a chance to have.) You are your choice to be a respectful parent.

How do we break these habits? For all our research, reading, support groups, and maybe even a desperate drive to be better than we are at being gentle parents, we still struggle in the moment. What to do when it just seems impossible to make it through the day without scolding or yelling? 

"What if you were really old, and really kind and lonely, your whole race dead. What couldn't you do then? If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind, you couldn't just stand there and watch children cry." 
(Amy Pond; Doctor Who; The Beast Below)

And in case you need any more ideas on how to keep your cool, here is a great "education film" I came across.


  1. Shared in my local Gentle Parenting group (which is lead by Dulce, btw)... Thanks!

  2. This is awesome! Just pinned to pinterest.