Getting angry with your child or teen is a common parenting mistake, and one which is very, very detrimental to parenting/education, particularly if your child has Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It is considered a grave mistake.
When you get angry you are exploding. You are losing control of yourself, and this has very severe ramifications for a number of reasons.
1- When you lose control, you are showing your child that he can do something that gets to you. This is a golden opportunity for an ODD child to be able to have some type of control over you. They love to have control. And I can guarantee you that if you get angry about something, you are going to see that behavior over again and again from your ODD child or ODD teen.
2- When you get angry, the anger itself becomes the central issue in your child’s mind. This means that whatever you’re trying to accomplish, whatever behavior you’re trying to get rid of, has lost its importance. The only thing in your child’s mind that’s important is that you’re angry. And that’s a serious problem, because even if your child does obey you, he will not learn anything from the lesson you teach him.
3- When you get angry you are role modeling that anger is okay under certain circumstances. Your child learns from what he sees happening around him. Since you are your child’s most important role model, how you behave is how you can expect your child to behave.
Simply put, when you get angry you’re teaching your child that there are certain problems and certain circumstances when it’s okay to be angry and temperamental.
One of the best examples of poor modeling behavior that I’ve ever seen is actually something not in real life. It’s something I saw in a commercial in a foreign country. I was watching a movie in a foreign country. I did not understand the language so I don’t know what was said. But, here is what I saw.
The commercial was for a certain snack food that the company was trying to make look desirable. The first scene shows the mother with that snack food in her hand. The teenage daughter walks in the room and tries to reach for the bag. The mother smacks her hand and says something which seemed to imply, “Get your own!”
The following scene shows the teenage girl with the snack food in her hand. Her 12-year-old brother comes in the room and reaches for the bag. She smacks his hand and the same thing repeats itself. Now the 12-year-old brother has the snack food in his hand and the 5-year-old sister comes in the room and reaches for the food. He smacks her hand and says, “Get your own!”.
The final scene shows the 5-year-old girl holding her dolly and the snack food in her hand. And in this scene she is pounding and beating up her dolly repeating what they said –“Get your own” – again, pounding her dolly.
That’s what role modeling is. When you get angry, you’re teaching your child that anger is acceptable and that it is a good thing. Whereas we know that anger is not a good thing. It’s not a good characteristic not for you, nor is it healthy it’s not for your child. It is something that you must avoid at all costs.
- If you are worried that your aggressive and angry child is going to grow up and become a problematic teenager
- If you already have an angry teen in your home
- If your child’s temper interferes with his ability to have friends
- If your child’s anger is straining your marriage
- If anger disrupts your home
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