This week was shocking at The Energy Pod. Mums cried when they realised how their children truly felt about being angry. I can categorically say that I grew up with the belief that nice girls don’t get angry which of course, is total and utter rubbish.
Nice girls do get angry!
They also know how to use the power of their anger for good. They channel it into making change and it’s a force to be reckoned with. These lovely Mums had no idea how their children felt and of course, it upset them to hear their child talking in this way.
These children felt ashamed …
Angry children can often struggle with regulating anger, because they feel really bad for having it in the first place. They hold it in and it comes out sideways. There are ways we fuel this shame:
- being uncomfortable with our own anger
- sending them away
- telling them they need to be good (and making anger bad).
- repeating old parenting patterns and emulating our parents (who also inadvertently shame us)?
Society can be quite shaming
It shows up in all sorts of ways: the media pulling down somebody who has done well. You know that built them up and then when they are human, shame them for getting it wrong. That’s life isn’t it? We are going to get it wrong. All of us. Not on purpose but that is how we learn and if we live in fear of getting it wrong, we may not even try. I coach children like this too.
Maybe you could download the replay of the class and see if your child feels the same? At least by watching it, they will feel validated and realise that they are not alone with their anger. Anger is a hot potato for many of us and it’s pretty much a given that if you are uncomfortable with your own anger, you will be uncomfortable around your child’s anger.
The truth of the matter is: if you haven’t learnt how to process your anger in a healthy way, you cannot role model those skills to your child.
Let me see if I can help you.
There is no shame in being angry
Or having any feelings (it’s what makes us human). In fact, during class we talked about why we need to stay connected to our anger and learn to acknowledge its very important message for us. Mums wrote to me saying it had moved them to tears hearing their children say they felt ashamed of the way they felt and how they recognised their own shame. I wanted to hug them and say: ‘Well Done for being honest!’
This is such a big parenting aha:
When you see your own shame and how that is contributing to a situation, well….the magic starts to unfold. Real healing can begin and the future for your child? Well it just got a whole lot brighter.
“I wanted to write and thank you for the energy pod this week. Wow, that was a big one! I know my daughter benefited from realising she’s not the only one experiencing anger, and the reinforcement that it’s OK to feel like that. Anger definitely did come out in our house that night, just as you predicted, but with your help we were ready for it! I think the biggest impact of that class was on me though. I listened to the replay back on my own and followed up with all the links you posted. I’ve been doing some real soul searching about the shame thing. I wanted to cry thinking that my daughter felt like that. It’s made me think hard about my attitude to anger. I realised I do feel shame about it too. Not in principle, but that if anyone outside of the house saw me when I’m angry I would be mortified! There was a lot of anger in my house when I was growing up and I can see where my ‘stuff’ comes from. I could go on for pages with everything I’ve learnt about myself this week …. just from that one class.
Suffice to say that it was a very powerful week (and very hard, but that just shows how needed it was). One of the things I found most helpful was the poem about focusing on being kind when you’re angry, and the ‘not talking when angry’ advice you gave. They are really helpful anchors for me. It’s hard to remember much in the heat of the moment but I’m trying to hold onto those two things!”
The antidote to shame?
Sharing your story with somebody who gets it and meets it with empathy (no judgement here!). That explains why the children were delighted to get involved in this class. You could literally feel the steam coming off their keyboards and the relief in their little bodies as they released their anger. What a powerful class! And they walked away with other tools for next time when they get angry.
Parents are learning through their kids
One Mum observed: ” I was so surprised to see my daughter write that” This was in response to identifying that anger is not as it first appears. The children felt uncomfortable getting in touch with their softer more vulnerable feelings like sadness or fear. They have beliefs that crying is babyish or boys have to be tough….this is very common in boys and I see it a lot in my work.
What lies beneath your anger?
How comfortable are you with your own anger?
How uncomfortable are you when your child gets angry?
Do you get embarrassed if they get angry in public?
Check out these 3 charts
I can see my anger in all three of them. Only saving that proper ranty rage stuff for my steering wheel because you know, if anybody ever saw me lose it that wouldn’t look very Smiley now, would it?
Grab a replay of the class on anger
You can check out the replay of this very powerful Energy Pod Class where parents are learning through their children and children are seemingly having fun (yes they like it!) learning about themselves and the way they feel.