12 responses to “Guest Post: Try Again”

  1. Tia

    Thanks for this lovely guest post. My daughter is 9 and needs anger management courses already. I joke, but she really does struggle with anger. It’s a new concept for me, and I’m trying to figure out how to parent it. I’ve found she needs to “walk away” and internally settle down, but I wish I knew other methods to teach her (you can’t always walk away). She’s a great kid, just has a short fuse. I appreciate your honesty.

    1. Jenni

      Tia,

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Oh, boy. I know how tough it can be. We’ve had some success teaching our kids to walk away when they feel angry. We also ask them to identify specific strategies for themselves. For awhile, my daughter would snuggle down in a corner of her room on a bean bag chair and read a book about feelings (she even stashed it there for awhile). Now, she goes to her room or a secluded area of the house and picks up any of her books. My son still uses his blanket (he’s four) – a few times I’ve found him under his covers, blanket in his mouth. Often, our kids will initiate their times away all on their own. It’s gratifying when they come back downstairs saying, “I’m all settled down!” Best wishes with your daughter – I know it can feel like a slow process.

    2. Jenni

      Hmm. Tia, I posted another comment that didn’t show up here.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Oh, boy. I understand how difficult it can be to try and parent in the moments that are filled with anger for our kids. We’ve had some success in having our kids identify their own strategies – my son snuggles in his bed with his blanket, my daughter grabs a book. Sometimes it works better than others, but it sure is gratifying when they come down the stairs saying, “I’m all settled down now!”

      Best wishes with your daughter – I know it can seem like a very slow process.

  2. joanna

    Love it, Jenni. Here’s what I struggle with. I want my kids to know anger is okay. Our society says it’s a valid feeling, but at the same time seems to also say expressing it is socially unacceptable (even hitting a pillow is bad, I’ve been told, because it’s hitting). So what tools do we give our kids besides deep breaths and teeth gritting? To me, most ways of handling anger seem to be a form of stuffing it. Maybe I need those therapy classes too. Hey, if you wrote an article on this, I’d read it!!

    1. Jenni

      I agree, Joanna. Where is the line? A few times I’ve been on the phone with my mom, bemoaning my less-than-perfect responses toward my daughter. My mom responds with, “Well, she needs to know that her outlandish behavior will affect the people around her.” It reminds me that I’m not an automaton in front of my kids, nor do I want to be. I think as long as we keep the conversation lines open and respond as honestly as we can, our kids will learn and so will we. I also think internal motivation is key. If I raise my voice or get testy in response to unreasonable behavior, is that so inappropriate? But if I get pouty or outlandish myself, it smacks of a pity party or a simple lack of control, and that’s closer to the wrong side of the line for me.

  3. Lisa

    Wow! How honest of you to write that, Jenni. I am prone to fits of anger, too, but wouldn’t be so brave as to write it out in a blog post. Thank you for sharing your real-life “not the finest moment” moments and suggesting ways that we can all improve.

    1. Jenni

      Thank you for reading, Lisa, and for telling me a bit of your own experience. I’ve had this idea for a post kicking around for awhile but never felt comfortable sharing. But for some reason the timing feels right to share and seek more support. I knew I wasn’t the only one, it’s just such a taboo subject. I appreciate you reading and commenting today!

  4. Liz

    Jenni, this mama is crying at her desk (in a cubicle at work)! You and your writing are treasures. When I read that same comment by the pastor’s daughter on his blog, my heart swelled, too. He was an exceptional man. And he lost it now and again? And his daughter still loved him? WHEW. A weight went off my shoulders. This line about the lunch box is going into my own “anger toolbox”: When we’re late and the kids are having a sit-in in the bathroom, refusing to brush their teeth, I feel like throwing this lunchbox against the wall. Thanks, friend.

  5. Jenni

    Lateness is a huge trigger for me! But, hey, we have kids so it’s going to happen now and again, right? Or maybe even every day.

    Thanks for reading and so glad we’re in this together.

  6. Jenni

    Jan, thank you for the chance to post here today. I feel so supported – thank you for commenting, everyone!

  7. Valerie Anderson

    Hey, Jenni.
    Thanks for the honesty. I’ve had issues with anger too, especially when dealing with young unreasonable children. My kids are older now and usually more reasonable than a typical 4 year-old but when they were little I really lost my temper with them way too often.

    Having some tools like you suggested, repeating to myself what I am feeling when I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs at them, would have been very helpful. I regret yelling at them and most of the time I apologized after I had calmed down…but not to have yelled would have been better. (I am talking about “yelling my insides-out” kind of screaming. ARgh! I cringe to think of it.

    1. Jenni

      Gosh, yes. The unreasonable years left me feeling miserable at the end of the day. Then I’d wake up dreading what I feared the day with my young kids would bring. It led to many losing-my-cool episodes that I’d rather forget. I feel the same way: the best option would be not yelling. As it stands, I’m finding it’s good to own up to it, find tools, be honest with our kids about our struggles and move through it.

      I’m glad that you’re feeling less of that now that your kids are older. It’s definitely not always an easy road, this parenting thing. I really appreciate you reading and sharing.

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