Once there was a red balloon that lived in a house with a family. Every day the red balloon got bigger and bigger without anyone noticing. One day the balloon popped with a loud bang and everyone in the house got a nasty fright.
Anger is often like the red balloon in that it builds up slowly over time until it explodes over a seemingly small incident/event. Aggressive behaviour is learned through the modelling of significant others. If you handle your anger like the red balloon, your children might learn that aggression is the best way to deal with uncomfortable emotions. Eventually these emotions could cause school difficulties, anxiety and relationship problems.
Emotional control, however, creates a feeling of security and peace within a family. It is thus important for us as parents to ensure that our emotions and our reactions in response to our emotions are equal. For example, when you are angry, you do not have to express that anger by yelling or throwing things. Feeling angry is not wrong, but the way you express it might be wrong.
As parents we have the responsibility to teach our children how to deal with their emotions in effective and appropriate ways. The following tools can help you manage your emotions more effectively:
- If you realise that there are often outbursts among family members, write down your emotions and thoughts. Keeping a journal will help you gain perspective.
- Humour can help you feel more in control over stressful circumstances.
- Take deep breaths. This will help to not only relieve some of the tension but will also give you a few moments to think more clearly.
- Focus all your attention on something in your environment or something on yourself, like the garden outside your window or the pattern on your dress or shirt. This technique can help you gain control over your emotions.
- Research has shown that there is a close link between a healthy marriage and successful parenting. It is therefore a good idea to invest in building a healthy relationship with your wife/husband. A good way to do this is by going away for a weekend or having planned date nights, to help you reconnect with your partner.
- Build your self-knowledge. Who am I? What is my personality like? Self-knowledge can help you gain insight into your own behaviour and emotions.
- Be mindful of external factors that could contribute to your emotions. For example, are you eating healthy foods, exercising, getting enough sleep? Are you stressed and worried?