When we get angry - Emotional Regulation

From time to time every parent experiences situations and conflicts in daily life that create stress - and this affects their contact with their children. Parents can be tired, sad, have relationship problems, be ill, be under a lot of pressure at work or have financial problems. Such strains can create stress reactions such as despair, depression, irritability, anxiety, pain, anger etc. To avoid this impacting the relationship with the child it is useful to work on your ability to regulate and control negative feelings.

When you as a parent learn to control your own negative feelings, it will be easier for you to bring up your child the way you want. Whenever you can manage to keep calm in heated discussions with your child or be there for your child despite being sad etc. you are being a good role model for your child.

When we are exposed to stress, our body, feelings and thoughts are affected negatively. To counter these negative reactions it is often a good idea to do something that helps your body to get rid of them – like listening to music or going for a walk. When you have calmed down, it will be easier to analyze the situation and plan what you want to do.

Ideas for what you can do to enter a better state of mind when you are afflicted by stress:

  • Go for a walk
  • Listen to music
  • Do some relaxation exercises
  • Talk to a friend
  • Drink a hot beverage
  • Do an activity you enjoy

In provocative situations involving a child,it can be easy for parents themselves to react with anger. When we freely express our anger and aggression towards each other, then aggression intensifies in both the parent and the child. This increases the likelihood for new outbursts of anger and for a rapid escalation of conflicts.

Ideas for what you can do in a challenging situation where you get angry:

  • Count
  • Breathe deeply
  • Step away
  • Think about something else
  • Seek support from your partner or a friend

When parents manage to control their own negative feelings, then contact with their children becomes more positive and they can prevent their own problems affecting the children. If you experience that you and your child have got into a negative pattern, we urge you to seek professional help. Through PMTO, you will learn practical strategies for regulating emotions.

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