SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

January 15, 2014

Angry dad wants to learn how to control his emotions

Dear Abby: I’m a dad in my 30s and I have a problem. I have been battling anger issues since I was a kid. I have been finding myself getting more and more worked up with my kids. When they misbehave, I lose it and yell at them. It is the way I was raised; however, I feel even worse afterward.

I really want to break this habit. I don’t want the only memories my children have of me to be images of my red face and bugged-out eyes hollering at them. Do you have any guidelines I can follow to get a better handle on my anger?

Loud Dad In West Virginia

Dear Loud Dad: Yes, I do. And I’m glad you asked me because it’s important that you find other ways of relieving your frustration than taking it out on your children. It is not only counterproductive, it is extremely destructive.

When a bigger person yells at a smaller person, the message is often lost because the smaller person (in your case, your children) simply shuts down out of fear that physical violence might follow.

You should not ignore your feelings when your children act up. Rather, you need to find another manner for expressing your emotions. My booklet “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It” offers suggestions on redirecting angry feelings in a healthy way. It can be ordered by sending your name and mailing address, plus a check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to Dear Abby — Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. Dealing with anger calmly and with reason is more effective than lashing out. Expressing your feelings is healthy when it’s done with a few well-chosen words that make your point. As you have already learned, exploding in anger serves no constructive purpose and only makes you feel worse afterward.

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