Spirit of Unity
Angry Parent ~ Angry Child


Blessings to You!
I remember holding my first child in my arms for the very first time. He was beautiful! I thought to myself, "This child is like a precious lump of clay, that I will shape into a wonderful human being." My heart was in the right place, but my ignorance was quite evident.

Rather than being as a lump of clay, he was a fully developed Spiritual, mental, emotional being enveloped in a tiny physical body. For a while, the tiny beings we call children are easy to manage and care for. One day, they start to express their individuality, which can be shocking to parents.

I'd say the first sign of this, would be when the word "No" is spoken in response to our request or instruction. Typically, the reaction is to push back with "Yes!" This can escalate and proliferate with anger until it becomes a way of life. 

Conversely, children are like a lump of clay, just not one we have the ability to shape into the image and likeness we choose. That is a probably a good thing, because where then would be their individuality? You have heard, I am sure, children learn what they live and then live what they learn. 

Like clay, children's minds and hearts are can be marked by the thoughts, feelings and judgments of the parents. They can get the "impression" they are bad or worthless, they can also get the impression they are entitled. 

Either way, venting our anger on a child, even if it is valid, is never a good thing. It's not about the anger, it's about what you do with it. To children, parents are like gods. They have the power and provision needed for survival. They are also like a mirror the child looks into to evaluate their acceptability and worthiness of love. 

When children are yelled at with angry outbursts the mark left on them lasts for years. You CAN be angry at your children, and they can and WILL get angry with you, since you are the ones who set their parameters. But that anger must be handled with maturity and care. In doing so, you will teach them how to express their anger in a healthy way.

A metaphor I like to use when discussing parent/child anger is the hot stove. If the stove is hot and you touch it, your hand will get burned. It is a matter of cause (touching a hot stove) and effect (getting burned). The stove is not angry with you. It is a stove and the burner is hot. 

If we are angry with our child, it is first of all important not to "get hot," because our anger will burn their heart and mind. It is equally important that appropriate consequences accompany inappropriate behavior. If a consequence has been determined, stick to it. Breathe through the child's anger. 

Remember, anger is frustration at not being able to make someone do what we want them to do. As a parent, we frequently have to say "no" to our children, making them angry. Help them to understand the cause and effect that brought the consequence, even if you have to wait until they calm down. 

Oh...and let's not forget...even as adults, we have been children once, and if we are blessed to have our parents still on Planet Earth, they will very likely rise our anger from time to time. Same rules apply. 

Rev. Alicia - Leslie 
Spirit of Unity

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