My Kids Should Always Obey Me!

It’s the perfect irrational statement for fathers to create more problems in their families.

For many men, this kind of thinking takes them further and further from their kids, and it creates a cycle of anger and frustration that’s hard to break. But those who’d like to learn to manage their anger can do so, especially if they follow these ten steps:

1. Take responsibility for your own anger. The only person in the world who causes you to get angry is you! Commit to stop blaming others for your angry outbursts and start devising strategies to have it improve.

2. Use calming statements to yourself. Saying things like, “take it easy,” or, “stay calm, it’s not about you,” can help men buy time and model self- control for their children. These need to be practiced consistently for them to be effective.

3. Leave the area immediately. You can’t say or do anything that you’d regret when you’re not there! Leaving the area as soon as you’re aware of your growing anger can allow you the time to respond to the situation, rather than reacting from knee-jerk emotions. It usually takes at least twenty minutes for most men to totally calm down after an emotionally upsetting event.

4. Become familiar with the warning signs of impending anger. Whether you experience racing thoughts, an accelerated heart rate, or sweaty palms, come to know the signs that you are about to explode. Stay aware of your body when an upsetting event is looming. This awareness will allow you to put your calming strategies into place. No awareness--no calmness.

5. Proclaim your commitment to fewer angry outbursts to someone in your family, or to your whole family. This will put some teeth into the commitment and force you to walk the talk. Now you have accountability built into your commitment. Your family will help you evolve into a calmer, gentler guy.

6. Explore your personal issues around anger. What are the particular issues that create such anger in you? What are your irrational thoughts? They can be things like, “I should be in control,” or, My kids should always obey me.” These thoughts are sure to cause anger problems! Learn alternatives to these thoughts, and prepare for situations which provoke irrational thoughts.

7. Count to Ten. This is what your grandparents may have done, but it is still an effective way to get past the worst of the anger and allow yourself to calm down a bit. This may also be done while leaving the area.

8. Do something to reduce stress every day. Whether it’s exercise, meditating, or reading, try to do at least one thing each day that allows you to feel more centered and relaxed. Most angry outbursts happen when we’re stressed out, and when we have other things on our mind. Create some kind of daily ritual that lets you clear away this excess baggage and allows you to enjoy your home life to the fullest.

9. Use deep breathing. When you feel the signs of anger coming your way, begin to breathe through your nostrils slowly and make sure your abdomen and stomach are expanding. When we get angry we tend to use shallow chest breathing. Using slow, controlled stomach breathing will allow you to avoid emotional reactions and respond in a more rational way. One of the advantages of deep breathing is that it can be used for a variety of situations.

10. Practice a smooth transition from work to home life. Many of our angry outbursts can be traced to excess stress from work. We sometimes bring this stress home with us and more easily become annoyed or angry. Use a calming technique of some sort on your drive home—a relaxing CD, or diaphragmatic breathing. This will get you out of work mode and into a more nurturing home mode, so you’re ready to be a part of the family again when you arrive.

Anger will happen in families. It will impact some more than others. Unfortunately, it impacts our children the most.

If you struggle with anger, show your family you care, and practice an anger plan.

Your training opportunities are happening every day.

© 2008 Mark Brandenburg

Other Father Issues, Books, Resources

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To this day I can remember my father's voice, singing over me in the stillness of the night. - Carl G. Jung

Mark has a Masters degree in counseling psychology and has been a counselor, business consultant, sports counselor, and a certified life and business coach. He has worked with individuals, teams, and businesses to improve their performance for over 20 years. Prior to life and business coaching Mark was a world-ranked professional tennis player and has coached other world-ranked athletes. He has helped hundreds of individuals to implement his coaching techniques. Mark specializes in coaching men to balance their lives and to improve the important relationships in their lives. He is the author of the popular e-books, 25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers , and Fix Your Wife in 30 Days or Less (And Improve Yourself at the Same Time ). Mark is also the publisher of the “Dads Don’t Fix your Kids” ezine for fathers. To sign up, go to or E-Mail

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