By “anger problem,” I mean I have two kids, a five year old and a nearly two year old, who appear hell-bent upon becoming concussed. If there is something that can be climbed, jumped on, jumped off of, or used to climb onto something else , they will find it, scale it, and fall from it before I can say “Honey, get the first aid kit again, they’re coming down!” I believe these are normal behaviors for preschool-aged kids. The problem lies with my reaction. Upon seeing my squalling, potentially injured child(ren) on the floor, I become angry. I am William Wallace in Braveheart, ready to slay whoever is responsible for this incident. Unfortunately, my wrath is useless as it is generally my offspring themselves who have caused the fall. So instead of valiantly defending my loved ones, I frighten the bejesus out of them. After icepacks have been applied and pupils have been checked, it is then time to repair my relationship with the injured tots who regard me like a rattlesnake that may strike again at any moment. There is the explaining that I only get so angry because I love them and don’t want to see them get hurt, and the reminding that running in the house or jumping on the bed or sledding down the stairs is a no-no, which, if I’m being honest, usually leads to just a bit more yelling, and the hugs and kisses to assure all of us that everything is okay again. At least until the next time they try to repel off the entertainment center with a jump rope.
I’m fairly certain that bumping heads, scraping knees, and slamming hands in drawers or cabinets are all standard parts of the growing up process. And I know that most of my anger stems from fear of something more serious happening. But there is another portion of the fury that is simply frustration with my warnings and consequences and reminders being ignored. This too is part of growing up – learning that your parents are pretty much always right. But why must there be so much bloodshed and parental angst for this lesson to take root? This weekend alone, we checked pupil reactions three times, applied ice twice. I see myself as a more than adequate problem solver. However, I do not seem to be able to prevent these children from banging themselves up nor have I been able to control my temper when it happens. They say anger is a choice. I say “they” don’t have kids.