Parents Practice Controlling Their Angry Impulses
(Journaling is included in this lesson and required if you are taking the course for a credit or to meet requirements)
Journal: What frustrates a parent so much that they strike their child or call them names? What frustrates you?
Power Educating is a movement. Our mission is to help one another become the most powerful loving leaders in our children’s lives. To be the power leader and educator in our family and to acknowledge the power we have as parents;– The power we need to develop into trust, truth, and dependability to be honest and to be ambitious.
Through Power educating we discuss real life situations with the hope that through dialogue we can all become stronger and more loving parents.
So, Let’s get going.
Every human being on earth makes choices about their behavior as adults. Some people live in constant chaos demonstrated by road rage, angry relationship with neighbors, they argue at home and are confrontational at work. The parents set the tone for the household. When parents are easily caught up in anger their children will model that and be miserable.
The happiness of a family is a direct mirror of the behavior of parents, It is embarrassing to be called to school if your child gets in trouble. I hope that through Power Educating parents will be happier as children are happier and healthier.
The term “at-risk” students refers to children who are working below grade level, live below the poverty line, have parents who are not educated, are absent or tardy often, get into fights, are caught with tobacco or alcohol and many more situations. I have taught many at-risk students who are being raised by wealthy educated parents. Parents who are doctors, mayors and attorneys. The one thing that the parents of at-risk children all have in common is that their children are out of control.
Technically all students are at-risk students. The students we worry most about are those who are not being successful at school. They typically misbehave in class and on the playground. They are often failing to pass the coursework.
A parent who strikes a child with a belt, burns them with cigarettes, calls them stupid or worse is a lousy parent. Loving your children is not enough. Children will develop into who they are going to be by the way you treat them.
So, let’s get started listing the areas you find the hardest for you to handle.
Answer these in your journal. It is hard to journal about negative things but it is healthy. If you have a fireplace or wood stove you can burn that paper after you have written it. The act of journaling is enough to create the desire to change.
People yell, hit, call names and are out of control when they are trying to make someone do something that they simply have no power to make them do.
I was twenty-two and it was my first-year teaching fourth grade. I had a few very challenging students who loved to disrupt the class. I had given them sentences to write as a consequence. Problem with that was that I had no power to make them write the sentences. I painted myself in corner. I added more and more sentences as they refused to cooperate. I called parents – that didn’t help. I took away recess until they caught up with the sentences. I knew that I was in trouble. I didn’t have a clue what to do in this situation. Ost kids wanted to be accepted and if they messed up they wanted to get the consequences over with. These particular kids were NOT going to do what I wanted them to do.
A very supportive school councelor came by and immediately saw my frustration. I had raised my voice which I didn’t know I was doing. He sat with me after the kids left and said, “Sally, I can see you were frustrated and angry with the kids who were not going to write the sentences you assigned. How many days are you willing to wait for those sentences?”
I had no idea how to answer him. I told him that I had taken away their lunch recess and I was going to add more consequences if that didn’t work.
“Sally,” he explained “When you get angry it is because you are unable to make someone do what you want them to do. I try to assign a consequence that I have control over. You have control over the missing recess but it is pretty hard to control whether or not those sentences. Most parents of disruptive students are unable to control their children at home. You should ask parents for their help but don’t count on it working. I believe that if a consequence is not effective you should not pile on more and more consequences. I believe you should take away some consequences and switch them to new consequences. If a child loses all of the fun and enjoyment in their lives, basically living on lock down, a child can lose hope. When a child becomes depressed and loses the joy of childhood happiness you are building a very angry and possibly depressed chid.
We talked that day for a long time. I realized that I wanted to control the behavior in my classroom. I wanted to do it with a smile on my face. I am a competitive person. I love to win! I will never forget that day. I made a decision that I would never again raise my voice toward any child. I would never give my power away to children. I had to be more creative with my consequences. Consequences became like a game to me. I never asked a child to do anything I couldn’t make them follow through with.
Consequences became common sense. When a student wrote their name scribbly I merely erased the name from the paper and handed it back to the student. I told her, “I can’t find your name on your paper. Please turn it in when you are done. I am grading it now.” I said thank you and off I went.
Journal: What sets you off? Do you demonstrate road rage?
Do you yell to get chores done???
An example is when a parent or teacher tells a child to write one hundred sentences saying, “I will not hit people.” You have just painted yourself into a corner. You can’t make the child do it. Parents and teachers often make the mistake of compounding punishments until there is so much frustration that the parent pops. If the child is extremely stubborn you will never see those sentences. It is a bad consequence.
I have a good friend who is raising her grandson. She has a potty mouth. She called him, “A Little Shit” quite often. His first sentence was delivered with his hand on the hip. Stomp of his foot and a shout, “God Damn It.” My friend laughed and thought it was so funny. She would never have allowed her own children to speak that way at two. She was out of her comfort zone. Wanting to be a grandparent and ending up being a parent with one arm tied behind her back.
I try hard not to have a potty mouth. It was easy when I was young because my mom would wash my mouth out with soap if I said a potty word. Later as a teacher I kept my mouth clean. Now that I am around my husband’s grandchildren I am reminded again what it means to be a good example of a generous heart and demonstrating self-control.
Journal: Asking yourself if you would control your tongue if you were sitting beside the President or Dr. Phil is a good indicator. If you would control that language in public please control it in private.
Can you list some behaviors you would like to change in yourself? Potty words? Name calling? Physical Contact?
After all, you are parents. You are an adult. So, get control of your actions. If you need help, need to talk to someone about why you feel so frustrated – please get help. There are free or low-cost counselors. Schools can give you referrals. The parent who asks for help getting counseling is seen as a hero at school. We are all people and all of us have experienced the same emotions. Some people deny it, some ignore it, some give in to it but the brave people deal with it.
What good examples can you think of? What do you that is a great idea and could be shared with other parents?
New Parents need our help. If you are expecting it is time to ask yourself how you might deal with discipline.
This is a story about a new dad.
I saw a father shaking his baby boy who was just barely crying at restaurant. He grabbed the six-week-old baby’s leg and said, “Stop it. Stop fussing. I mean it. Cut it out.” then he shook again.
What ideas can you come up with that might help this new father to understand the situation through different eyes?
Can you list different ways to deal with a fussy infant than to shake them?
I believe parents have good intentions. Good intentions is not good enough to be positive powerful parents in regard to behavior. It will be a change. You will feel better but your child might rebel even more at first. That stops when your child discovers you are sticking by your consequence. NO matter how happy and sweet and cute and loveable your child is you cannot change the time of the consequence. You can smile and be happy for them that they are being nice.
Student stories to help you chose consequences for your child’s actions.
1. Johnny and Sarah are riding in the car on the way home from school. They are arguing again! You think about it and decide that your kids are smarter than the family dog so they are choosing to mess around and distract your driving. So, you think about it a minute. What can you control? You can decide if the car moves or does not move.
Now you start thinking about outsmarting those kids. Without saying a word to the kids you pull the car over under a shade tree and take the keys out of the ignition. You open the nearest thing to read and start to focus all of your attention on that reading. I hope you find a book but you may be reading anything. Maybe even organizing your purse.
Eventually the kids will want you to explain why you are sitting there. They want to go home. When I did this to the kids in my car I had to talk to myself in my head. I said things like, “They know the rules and will figure out how to get me going again.” “They are smarter than the dog.” “Do not repeat the rules.” “Keep your mouth shut.”
Then the kids started in on me. “Mom, I want to go home.” “Mom, I am hungry” “Mom, I have to use the bathroom.” “Mom, this is nuts.” The hard part is to ignore their words. They will eventually figure out what to do. They already know the rules. You have repeated them hundreds of times..
One of the kids finally says, “Shhh, be quiet and sit still so we can go home.” “I think she wants us to follow the car rules.”
I want to shout “Yeah! It works!!!”
I finally smile, put my book down and start the car. We have gone a few blocks when they start to argue again. I pull over again. I feel sad that this hadn’t taken hold. My kids are so good at manipulating me.
They come to their senses much faster this time. Yeah back on the road again.
You know you can now control the car behavior. Every time I am taking the kids I look at them to figure out who is in a cranky mood, or simply tired. “Joey, can you bring that book to the car for mom please?”
That is their reminder that we can pull over and wait for good behavior.
2. Your family goes to a fast food restaurant for lunch. The kids know the rules that if mom and dad are not having fun they will leave the store. The kids are pushing in line. I say to my husband, “Are you having any fun?”
He answers, “Nope”
So, we leave the restaurant. We leave our three-year-old and six-year-old standing there pushing each other. We are parked right in front of the door (on purpose) and pretty soon they are opening the door and climbing into the back seat of the car.
The fun begins!
We head for the drive up. Both kids are telling us what they want. I want a kid’s meal with a toy. I want fries and a milkshake…we ignore them completely. My husband orders us delicious food. We get things we normally do not get. We get good smelling fries and milkshakes. We get hamburgers and extra pickles.
The fun continues.
We begin to eat our food in the car. The kids are demanding their food. They are telling me what they want to eat. We ignore them and eat. We talk to each other and share food. When we are pretty much finished we go home. We get out of the car and leave the kids in there. They eventually follow us into the house. They start whining. “Where is my dinner?” “What will we eat?”
We turn on the television and sit together on the couch. If you are setting this up ahead of time you already left some bread and peanut butter on the counter where they can reach and fix for themselves.
The next time we are at a restaurant and the kids mess around in line. I simply look at them and say, “Mommy is not having any fun.” The kids straighten right up because they know if I am not having fun they are not having fun.
Journal: Think about a situation you want to change. What ideas can you come up with together that might give you the power you need to change the outcome of the situation?
We are going to share our ideas to the class.