We are men, and it's no secret that most of us have an angry-man button that, when pressed, emits anger. The degree of anger depends on the person, but in almost all cases that emotion is counterproductive to fixing whatever set us off.
You found a bag of pot in your son's drawer? Your daughter's school called because she skipped class today? Junior failed an art class project? Cue angry dad.
We know things are going to happen, so how we react when those times come will determine either the positive or negative development of our children moving forward. These three angry-dad scenarios that hurt your children offer examples and solutions:
1. No use crying over spilled milk. After an extremely long day at work and his patience already worn too thin, Dad is finally relaxing for a moment. His young son who is excited to see him jumps up into his lap suddenly, spilling the entire cold drink Dad was holding all over his pants and chair. One of two things is about to happen. Either the child is about to be instilled with fear of his father's wrath, or he's about to calmly learn a lesson that will prevent future incidents. Blind rage is exactly what we don't want our children to be instilled with. Breathe deep and react calmly, carefully choosing your path forward.
2. Impatience gets the best of him. Part of a dad's job description is being a handyman. During these times, we often recruit our children to assist us. These are extremely important teachable moments that are going to shape our children. The dad that uses this time to lovingly and patiently instruct his young child is setting into action a chain reaction of many positive consequences.
Their bond and mutual trust will deepen, a work ethic will be established, and the child will learn a desire to provide quality work. If the father is the type that belittles his child instead of teaches, and curses and bangs his way through the task while the child observes, then a pathway filled with anxiety is being paved. The child will feel he can never do right in his dad's eyes.
3. The bad report card. We all want our children to excel and set high standards. Sometimes it just isn't going to work out like that. Bad grades usually will beget other bad grades if we react in a typical and instinctive fashion, which is to have a very negative and disappointed reaction. This situation certainly calls for discipline and a stern hand, but a bad grade is actually a cry for help. That's where the focus belongs, calmly figuring out what went wrong and what the solutions are. Leaving it all in a negative state is going to develop low self-esteem in your child, and that's a horrific breeding ground for all sorts of troubles later. Discipline fairly, and then proceed optimistically in solving the issue.
Related Resource: "Characteristics of Growing Dads"
Huddle up with your kids tonight and ask: "Have you ever felt intimidated or scared by my anger?"
"Speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret." —Ambrose Bierce
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