Fasting from Anger in Motherhood: My Results and Tips
Anger in motherhood is like beating eggs with a butterknife, when you could be using a whisk.
It’s like sweeping your floors with a broom and dustpan when you own a freaking Dyson.
...For the last six years, I have been a hot-head of a mother. Short fuse. Anger is just plain easier. It feels powerful. It feels like it’s making change in your kids, because of that wild-eyed look on your face that makes them stop in their tracks. And, it is pretty much a habit. Default.
But then I listened to master life coach Brooke Castillo’s podcast on anger.
And, I became a life coach. Which has shifted the way I do a lot of things, mothering being one of them (learn more about life coaching here).
I've come to realize: anger is a choice. And it’s an optional one.
I really, really do not like being angry.
Before hiring my life coach, I was convinced the reason I was angry so much of the time was because of my kids and their "misbehavior". If they would just do what I asked.....
I was wrong. We are wrong.
Our kids aren’t that powerful. They can't *make* us angry.
...But our thoughts about our kids and their behavior can make us angry.
This may be a new concept to you if you aren't familiar with the world of life coaching. But as a life coach, I teach: circumstances--the things that happen outside of our control, around us in the world-- are neutral. Those things or people do not have power over us emotionally. And that includes the little people.
We give away our emotional liberty by thinking thoughts that make us feel certain ways.
My thoughts and patterns of thinking (and therefore reacting emotionally in anger), were the reasons I was angry.
When I listened to that podcast, I chose in that moment----I remember it clear as day, because I knew in my heart that this was a change for good----I chose to not yell anymore at my kids.
Anger is desperation. Anger is laziness. Anger is fear of losing control.
Anger is simple intimidation, like the bully on the playground. It's a short cut that has negative consequences on the back end.
(You'll hear about my "Anger Fast" + what I learned/results here soon....)
So what do we do about our anger with our kids?
The answer to this question will be different according to your kids, your personality, etc. I would never tell you how to parent, you know your kids and yourself better than I ever could (that may be the biggest difference between a therapist and a life coach...)
I will share with you what has worked for me: I've found that ideas of implementing accountability and consequences with my kids (ways without anger), came to me after I committed in my heart to not yell and use other "angry" discipline.
Once anger is not an option for you anymore, your mind will open to creativity and come up with new ways of doing things in your household, amazingly tailored to your kids and you.
**That is why life coaching is so much more valuable than reading any book on the planet**: when you work with a life coach, you learn how to get more out of your brain. Why purchase books, or read all the parenting magazines--essentially, why consume information from other people's brains, when you could just learn how to get more out of your own? Take your brain out of its box and be taught how to truly use it. AKA, get a life coach. (I am a life coach, and I'm really amazing at training your brain to create new results in your life and family. Book a *free* mini session to try it out, here.)
It all starts in your thoughts.
Another principle of life coaching here, but you'll see that it works, and it's totally true.
Many people try to make change by changing their actions. But dear, if your thoughts in your mind are all the same as they were last time you hit your kid, you're going to feel the same feelings, and therefore want to act on those feelings in the same or similar way next time you almost hit him. You're just going to not hit him, but still feel super irritated or angry.
How difficult! Your brain will not be tricked. Eventually you will hit (or whatever action you take in anger) again unless you change your thoughts.
To not act out in anger, you can't just feel totally pissed off and then pretend you don't. No, you have to get in your brain and target the thoughts and/or beliefs that are pissing you off. Because remember, your kids are not pissing you off. Your thoughts about your kids are.
If you train your brain to think differently, you can genuinely not feel the feelings that lead you to act in anger towards your kids... You could become a whole new mother...
It's the only way to change for ever, long term, officially, completely.
Here are some common thoughts that get us angry quickly:
- My kids are supposed to do what I say
- My kids are not supposed to fight
- My kids are so lazy
- My kids are irresponsible
They sound like reasonable thoughts, right?
...But are kids supposed to do what you say, all the time, every time? Really, is that what you truly want? Is that the best way for them to learn?
Or, are kids supposed to test limits?
Are your kids not supposed to fight? Or is fighting with one another how they learn to manage relationships and feelings?
I'm not saying any of this is true. But start to play with the assumptions and beliefs you've grown up thinking and therefore expecting from your kids.
When your kids fight, does it serve you to think the thought, "They are not supposed to fight"? ...How do you treat them when that is the thought guiding your actions?
May I offer some other thoughts to possibly help?
- My kids are supposed to push the limits -- it's how they learn
- All kids fight - it is natural and a normal part of growing up
- (laziness): It took me years to develop my current work ethic. I can have patience as they figure out how to love to work.
- My kids are exactly how they are supposed to be.
- This is part of my journey as a mother.
- **In stead of focusing on how you wish your kids were behaving, think: what in this situation is within my control? How I behave. And how do I want to show up right now?**
My "Anger Fast" results:
It has been eight weeks now since I committed to myself forever that I will not resort to unleashing anger upon my children as a form of discipline, and here are some of my observations:
Yelling and intimidation are habits, because the thoughts and feelings behind them are habits. My angry ways still came up here and there for a couple weeks, despite my best efforts. So if that’s you too, take comfort. You’re human like I am! (hey hey!)
My kids get away with things sometimes; "misbehavior" still happens. I think kids are supposed to get away with things sometimes. As I have stepped out of my kids' emotional business and stepped more fully into my own, I’ve discovered a better, more reasonable mental place from which to discipline.
As I’ve done this consistently, new and more creative (and emotionally pleasant) teaching/disciplining ideas have come.
When we are willing to do the mental work required to step between our circumstances (what’s happening around us; the “triggers” if you will), and our thoughts, we can make space for calm and keep the anger at bay. (And come up with better ideas. Use that brain! )
Love to you and yours,
and here's to cleaner thinking,
If you'd like to hire me as your life coach, you can book here, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to inquire.
If we were in a life coaching session together,
1. you would tell me about specific circumstances in your home with your kids
2. we would take a look at your thoughts about all those.
3. I'd help guide you to some thoughts that would serve you more in getting the result you want in your own behavior.
- What has worked for you to lessen your anger? Any good advice for the rest of us?
- What other ways (besides anger) do you go about helping your children make better choices?
I’d love to hear from you below in the comments. I read and respond to them.