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The "No Kill Policy": How To Control Anger As A Parent

When you get mad at your kids, just remember this "no kill policy."

 

Since I have been in private practice, I have often said to families: "I have a no kill policy." Parents and children just look at me with the oddest looks.

Then, I go on to explain: "Sometimes, especially in our families, we have really strong emotions that make us angry and want to attack the ones we love. Strong emotions can often times lead us to have strong actions. We may get to a point where we feel like we want to kill somebody, but we just can't do it." 

Upon explaining, parents and children both nod their head and say, "Yeah, I get that. Sometimes I'm so angry that I don't want to look at the other person or be in the same space as them." 

This then leads to a discussion of what we do when we are angry. I continue to be amazed at how many adults cannot handle their angry in a helpful, appropriate manner. Yet, the expectation is that children should be able to handle their anger as well.  

Anger is a powerful, strong emotion, so we need powerful, strong strategies to help release that anger. As adults, we need to have our anger strategies figured out before we attempt to figure that out with our own children. Then, we must remember that our children's emotions are their emotions, not ours.  

So, we don't have to or need to be activated by them. Let them have their emotion and do not get trapped in feeling like you have to have an emotion to go along with theirs. As parents/caregivers, we must be able to be in control of our emotions in order to help children calm down and process their own emotions. Therefore, as you move through your parenting, remember "the no kill policy." You may feel that strongly and so may your child. 

Calm your amygdala and process your feelings before moving forward in your relationship with your child!

 

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