There are very few things that are universal to parenthood, but here’s a big one: You have never once lost your temper at your kids and felt good about yourself afterwards.
You never have and you never will.
Losing your temper never makes things better. It never accomplishes what you think it will accomplish. It is not a source of pride, and it is never a good look.
Yet here we are, again, getting upset. Raising our voices. Issuing some ultimatum in frustration (or desperation). Angrily making unrealistic or unnecessary demands.
We know we’ll regret it. We know we’ll feel bad about it later. We know it risks sending the wrong message, we know they will take it hard. Worse still, we know that with the passage of time the whole thing will look smaller and smaller, and the only thing that will remain with any degree of permanence is the memory of the anger. So what if we just didn’t do it anymore? Or at least, what if we tried hard to do it much, much less often?
Just as Mr. Rogers talked to generations of children about “what to do with the mad you feel”, we have to figure out what to do ourselves…as adults. We need insertion points. We need pauses. We need deep breaths and ten-counts.
We need to catch ourselves before our temper sinks both its claws into us and the anger carries us away.
P.S. The Stoics have some of the smartest and most applicable insights about getting your anger contained. For a high level introduction to some of those insights, check out this article: Anger Management: 8 Strategies Backed By Two Thousand Years of Practice. Or if you really want to get serious about conquering your anger, sign up for our course: Taming Your Temper: The 11-Day Stoic Guide to Controlling Anger. 11 days of challenges, exercises, video lessons, and bonus tools based on Stoic philosophy and aimed at helping you deal with your anger in a constructive manner. Learn more here!