Are You Disciplining in Anger?
Do You Express Anger Physically?
“If you are a person who reacts physically to stress by throwing things, spanking reflexively, or yanking your children by the arm to make your point, you are a Dr. Jekyll,” Hierlmaier-Nelson says.
Why Physical Aggression Doesn’t Work: Parents with Dr. Jekyll tendencies should consider how they are modeling their behavior to their children—and how those physical reactions may permanently damage their kids.
In fact, a 2007 bill brought before the California legislature sought to add some Dr. Jekyll behaviors to the state’s definition of abuse. “Fatal abuse is too often the result of hitting or shaking by caregivers under the guise of discipline,” the bill stated. “Infants and toddlers are the most vulnerable because of their tender age and inability to defend themselves or ask for help. It is therefore wholly reasonable that the integrity and sanctity of their bodies should be afforded the greatest protection possible under the law.” The bill was dropped due to lack of support, but many anti-spanking groups still hope to criminalize parental corporal punishment.
What You Can Do: Focus on your breathing—and keep those hands behind your back. “When your breath is calm and regular then you can talk about the problem,” says Hierlmaier-Nelson. “Consider taking up an energetic hobby, like running or kickboxing, or seeing a counselor to get to the heart of your angry tendencies,” she adds.
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