Training Dynamics And Consultants Limited

"Giving you the competitive edge through people"


By: Dr. Ainsley Deer, MSc,CEO/Senior Consultant, Training Dynamics & Consultants Ltd.

Although hundreds of books have been written on Parenting and scores on Anger, there is very little information available on Managing Parental Anger.  It is believed by many that: IF YOU SURPRESS STRONG FEELINGS, LIKE ANGER, THEY STILL UNCONSCIOUSLY GRIP YOU AND WILL INEVITABLY RISE TO SMITE YOU AGAIN.

Therapists who hold this view urge you to express and release your anger, wrongly assuming that it will then go away.  But how as parents do we cope with our anger and our children’s anger?  In the May 14, 2000 edition of the Gleaner, there was an article by Patricia Watson on ‘Moms Guilty of Abuse’.  In this article, according to a United Nations Children's Fund  (UNICEF) report, women were one of the main perpetrators of physical abuse against children.

Quoting from a study released in 2000, a UNICEF report, titled Changing the Future for Jamaica’s Children, stated that ‘95 percent of both males and females sampled reported being beaten, kicked or punched by a female up-bringer.  Some 83 percent of males and 79 percent of the females indicated abuse by a male up-bringer’.

The worst examples of physical violence mentioned in the study were sitting a child on an ants’ nest, beating with kitchen utensils, or pouring hot water on the child.  These were punishment given mostly to children of low-income families.

Social workers and counsellors explained that it is not because Jamaican women are cruel or hate their children why they inflict physical abuse on them.

This abuse comes mainly out of anger, frustration, a lack of child development knowledge and stress.

Mothers react violently because they are unable to fulfil the needs of their children.  It can be frustrating for the mother when a child keeps asking for something and the mother cannot provide it.

The data is not surprising as women are the ones taking care of the children.  Most often the mother is the primary care-giver and is therefore more stressed’.

I do believe that there are normal, well meaning, conscientious, loving, educated parents who get angry.  We are the reasonable and rational ones who are suddenly transformed into grouchy, critical, snapping people who say and do things we wish we hadn’t.
We all experience anger at one time or another in the course of parenting – sometimes more frequently than at other times; sometimes more intensely than at other times.

There are lots of ‘reasons why’ for anger viz:

Parenting is probably the most Time Consuming, Energy Consuming, and Expensive responsibility you will ever embark on.

Most of us are Ill-Prepared for it (unlike preparing for career).

We have Not Been Taught the skills to parent or cope as parents.

Socio-economic Pressures

-    Inadequate coping.

Some of us were fortunate to have good parent models.  Many of us were using our own judgement, based on what seems to make sense or go on a definite opinion about what our own parents did that was right or wrong.  We quite often do not know WHY we choose to behave in a particular way; HOW appropriate our choice of behaviour is and WHAT RESULTS these choices will have for both parent and child.

Good parenting skills are NOT the only variables, which affect parental anger.
Frustration over personal life goals, marital relations, business goals/relations, economic status, everyday stresses are all potential sources of anger.

And then there are the kids.  Children have their own child ideas and notions, yet as parents we often require and demand that they march to our music.  The problem, of course, comes when the child is playing a different tune than the parent.

Anger can turn the most reasonable, caring parent into a snapping, snarling critic.  Unplanned words / acts escape, trailing regret and guilt.  Gaps widen and walls go up.

But anger can be managed and the first step in managing our anger is to admit that the responsibility for our anger is within ourselves and that which is within us is within our control.

Anger interferes with successful parenting.  It interferes with your ability to make an intelligent decision.

Furthermore you often direct your parental anger at your children instead of at their inappropriate behaviour resulting in withdrawal and the child not recognising what is inappropriate about its behaviour.  Do not justify your use of anger to discipline by telling yourself, ‘My child only pays attention to me when I get angry’.

Instead learn to:
1 Anticipate the anger-breeding situation and prepare yourself for a calm response.

2 Recognise your angry reaction in progress and calm yourself down quickly.

3 Review your behaviour (after an incident is over) objectively so that you can learn from it for the next situation.


TD&C News and Updates

Latest News

TD&C Updates

TD&C's Products and Services

Training and Development
HR Consulting
Confidential Psychological Services

Always operating with Integrity!