In my last post I briefly touched on a class I recently took on anger management. The class was advertised as a class to take to teach your child to deal with his or her anger. Of course, in teaching your child a new skill you really learn something about yourself and how your own behaviour informs your child's behaviour.
I didn't really learn anything at the class I didn't already know. I am an old hat at using "I feel" messages and "If/then" statements. Some days they work, some days they don't.
I did meet some interesting characters and made one friend that I am very happy to have met. We bonded over our quirky kids and how we never really seem to find what we are looking for at these classes. (except for a couple of moments where we got to hear some stories from a family who would be right at home on Jerry Springer's sound stage)
My Charlotte is a ticking time bomb. The smallest thing will set her off. She responds the same way to minor things as she does to major things. This is proving to be dangerous for her. When she screams her head off at me because I have given her the wrong colour cup to drink from, I don't respond very quickly when she is screaming her head off because she has hurt herself. Often the words she screams have come right out of my mouth and into her head.
It turns out I am a ticking time bomb too. If you push just the right combination of buttons at the right time of day I will explode. This usually always happens around dinnertime. You know, the magical time of day when a parent is trying to get food on the table while her tired and cranky offspring are melting down around her. My kids know all of the buttons well and will smash them all at once with a sticky paw.
Some days I cope well. I deal with the various crises with dignity and calmness. Other days my coping skills deteriorate into blatantly ignoring the kids by blasting my Mp3 player in my ears or or pouring a beer and clamato to dull the rough edges. Some days I scream right along with them. (Those are the worst days). On the worst days I often put on my exercise gear and wait anxiously at the door for Richard to get home so I can literally run away. Putting a few kilometers between me and the house really helps to calm my shattered nerves. I am sure the rush of endorphins doesn't hurt either!
I wish I knew the secret to dealing with anger. I guess it is like anything else. You have to exercise your anger control muscle so it gets stronger and stronger. Some days are good days, other days you feel achy and sore and defeated.
You just have to get out of bed, put on your grown-up underwear and try again.