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Anger is agression - a natural defensive human condition. People get angry when they are hurt. Most people find that anger is also very manipulative. Angry people, very often, manage to get their own way which must surely be very gratifying. If getting angry helps us get our way, why would we want to control the emotion?
The downside is that it rarely makes the hurt that accompanied our anger go away. Uncontrolled anger makes us uncaring of the consequences for just a fleeting moment. In that moment, we lose control so completely that our anger controls our actions. It leaves us feeling sorry afterwards, full of regret for what we said or did. We wish we could take it back. Our anger makes the other person angry too. It rarely resolves the issue that made us angry with that person in the first place. In the long run it loses us a lot of friends and makes us feel hostile and unfriendly towards people. Of the two - a person with a cool head and one with a short fuse, I know who I would prefer to trust.
The best time to teach this skill is when people are young, very young. Which brings me to parenting skills.We are not born with parenting skills. Yes, most of us are nurturing by nature. But are our well meaning intentions for our kids enough? Is it enough that we want the absolute best for our kids and nothing less will do? Don't we, especially first time parents, need some basic training too?
For example, how do we best handle kids who throw a tantrum? How do we empower them with skills to express their anger in a constructive way? How do we teach them that resolving an issue is the only way to get rid of their hurt, and consequently, their anger? That the momentary gratification of throwing a tantrum will only leave them feeling lonely and bitter for a long time afterwards?
What are these constructive ways of expressing anger? Let me put it this way - if our kids are ill we take them to specially trained people, in other words, our doctors, for cures. If, or rather, when our kids get angry, we, as parents, need first to learn, and then to impart, constructive anger-channelling skills. Where do we learn these skills?
Online? Courses? Books? There's a lot of information out there on anger management. One of the best parenting skills books I've read is, the very wordy but worthy title
Do parenting skills make our kids perfect? Assuredly not! We are humans with human failings and emotions. But parenting skills do give our kids the ability to express their frustration and hurt much better than before. It helps them quickly move on to happier emotions.
One last note on anger in our young ones - the makings of an aggressive bully. It is a habit to be nipped in the bud through adult intervention. It is neither good for the bully nor the bullied. The bully learns to use aggression to overcome what's in his or her path and when that doesn't work in adult life - at the office, for example, becomes frustrated, angry and eventually, probably isolated. I remember a young mum who used to attend school during breaks (in Mumbai) simply to prevent her toddlers from being physically hurt by bullies.
Good on Barrack Obama and Michelle for addressing bullying in schools. When it makes kids commit suicide, it is time for grown ups to step in. This link will give you the details to that story. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2035621/Why-bullied-children-worse-grades-school-left-alone.html