Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What to do about anger


As a follow up to yesterday’s post about dealing with anger I would like to post an excerpt from Robin Grille’s book “Heart to Heart Parenting”.  This book is a must have in any parenting toolbox.

One of the times we most need the support as parents is when the travails of caring for a baby incite us to anger. Doesn’t your baby drive you made sometimes? Are you sure? Come on, let’s not romanticise: sometimes parenting can feel like a right royal pain in the tuches.  If you’re wondering why, then let’s have a quick reality check about some of the downsides of this venture.

Your baby asks more and more from you each day, without saying thank you, not even once. She makes you feel useless when she endlessly cries. She makes you wonder if you are really a bad parent. He has ruined your svelte figure. He has thrown a spanner in the works of your sec life. She wakes you up at night – often. She has snuffed out your night-time social life. You have never seen so much excrement in your entire life. You have never done so much wiping, and for your trouble, he pisses in your eye when you are changing his nappy. You feel drained, tired, unappreciated. And you are not angry? Tell me where you went to saint school, I want to sign up.

Meanwhile, the rest of us who are less holy get pretty pissed off sometimes. But we hide it from each other and smile out from under our pile of nappies and dirty laundry. It horrifies us to notice that we are feeling angry with our baby. It frightens us, makes us ashamed. Most parents bottle up quite a bit of anger. The internal guilt police blows the whistle: How could I be angry at such a beautiful and helpless creature? What kind of a monster am I? We bury our anger under six feet of syrupy denial. This suppression is not good for our health and it contributes to our exhaustion. What’s more, it takes a lot of energy to suppress anger. The worst thing about suppressed anger is that it can often come out later, explosively, inappropriately and even dangerously.

Suppressed anger is like a self-perpetuation vicious circle. Since we all feel so guilty and ashamed about the anger we feel as parents, we sometimes hide it from each other, and so we all think that everyone else is coping better than we are. It makes us feel even more ashamed when we look around and see how well all the other parents seem to be doing – and so we bury our true feelings even deeper.
Be reassure: some frustration and anger are a completely normal part of the parenting adventure. It is fine and healthy to feel angry. What is not OK is to think that your frustration is your baby’s fault. Anger can be safely and gracefully managed, whereas blaming a child is unjustified, injurious to the child and harmful to your relationship.


I would like to go on however I do not want to breach too much copyright. The book is brilliant and I thoroughly recommend it.


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