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Outsmart Your Anger


A Great Idea …

“There are ways to deal with anger besides pouring molten lava on those we love. The popular belief that if we do not express our anger, it will explode-or come out in sick forms-is simply mistaken. When we dwell on our anger it grows. In contrast, when we set it aside, it can cool. Anger is a little like tasting very hot soup. We must allow it to cool a little before we eat it or we will burn our mouths.” (Professor of Family Life, Dr. H. Wallace Goddard, in his book, Soft-Spoken Parenting, p. 14)

In Other Words …

When we are angry, our instinctive reaction is to lash out at those around us. Our empathy dries up, and we become hyper-focused on the thing that bothers us. We often gather up armloads of complaints. Having disarmed ourselves of our most important tools, we find it hard to solve problems or build relationships.

How This Applies to You …

The next time your child makes you angry, try swimming against the tide of anger. Instead of drowning your empathy, try listening to it. Instead of focusing on the irritation, try seeing the larger picture. Instead of looking for added complaints, stop and give yourself a few minutes to calm down. Once you have cooled off, then you can deal with the situation more helpfully.

To Find Out More …

For an excellent (and free!) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at www.arfamilies.org and if your children are younger than six, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more in depth reading on parenting, we recommend Soft-spoken Parenting by H. Wallace Goddard or Anger Kills by Redford and Virginia Williams.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Susan Curtis August 11, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I especially loved the molten lava comparison. My husband once told me that his first wife was like Kilauea, continually spewing, while I was more like Mt. Saint Helens, store up and blow. That image has always stayed with me.

    Love your articles, Wally!

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