Do you allow your children be angry?

Posted by Samantha on September 14, 2011 in Anger, Change, Feelings |

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger….Let a man overcome anger by love.

Buddha

This is a tough lesson but the truth of it is entirely inescapable.

As a child I was taught in religion classes in school that I would be punished FOR my anger.  And indeed, in school – and at home – I was.

Needless to say, I tried very hard not to get angry – ever.

But being human, I found that task impossible. Instead, I learned to bottle and deny my anger rather than face punishment for admitting to it or expressing it.

As I grew up, and ceased to be small enough for adults to punish me for being angry, I began to get an inkling of how a person is punished BY their anger.

But as no-one had shown me how to express my anger appropriately, I continued to deal with it the only ways I knew how: heroic efforts to avoid feeling it, denying it, bottling and suppressing it.  Every so often I would have explosions where I would dump it or act it out.

My closest relationships suffered as a result of my inability to own and express my anger appropriately.  But also, I have been punished by my anger.

Thankfully, things have changed now.

These days I make every effort to overcome my anger with my children with love.

When that fails and I am angry with my children, I remind myself that while anger is OK, dumping it on my children is not.

And I show my children, by example, that the goal for them is not to pretend that they are never angry, but to respect and harness the power of that angry energy in a way that is minimally destructive to either themselves or others.

I suspect this is a lifetime’s work.  But it’s worth it.

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