8 Weapons in the War on Anger

Parents need to accept the fact that they will get angry with their children, that they are entitled to feel angry without guilt or shame, and that they are allowed to express their feelings. - Haim Ginott, Ed.D. (Renowned child-development expert)

By Nancy Samalin, M.S.

  1. Exit or wait. When we are so incensed that we are about to lose control, exiting or calling an adult time-out gives us a breather.

  2. Use "I," not "You." When a child does something to make us angry, our response may be to shout an accusation. Instead, say "I'm mad!" Not "You're bad."

  3. Stay in the present. Don't use the incident as a springboard for gloomy forecasts or as an opportunity to dredge up ancient history.

  4. Avoid physical force and threats. When you've won by asserting physical power as a big person over a small person, you have won nothing.

  5. Keep it short and to the point. Be specific. It's pointless to tell a 5-year-old why she should clean her room. Preaching only makes kids parent-deaf.

  6. Put it in writing. A written message can be an effective and calming way to express your feelings in a manner others can understand without getting defensive.

  7. Focus on the essential. Parents have to decide what is really important and let go of the small stuff.

  8. Restore good feelings. After you've gotten over your anger, let your kids know your loving feelings are back.

Read Main Article => Parental Anger: How to Develop Coping Strategies

Reprinted with permission from Nancy Samalin's book Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma, Penguin.


  • 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12, by Thomas Phelan, Ph.D., Parentmagic, 2003. Outlines a systematic approach to discipline using counting and time-outs applied in a straightforward and unemotional manner. Also the author's book Surviving Your Adolescents: How to Manage and Let Go of Your 13- to 18-Year-Olds.

  • Between Parent and Child, by Haim Ginott, Ed.D., Three Rivers Press, revised and updated 2003. The 1969 best-seller has been updated by the late author's wife, clinical psychologist Alice Ginott, Ph.D., and family relationship specialist H. Wallace Goddard, Ph.D., but is still offers the positive and supportive advice on communication and discipline techniques that made it a classic.

  • Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma, by Nancy Samalin, M.S., with Catherine Whitney, Penguin, 1992. Encourages acceptable expressions of anger to achieve guilt-free parenting.

  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, by John Gottman, Ph.D., with Joan Declaire, Simon & Schuster, 1998. A noted psychology professor offers exercises to assess your parenting style and tips on recognizing and dealing with emotions - yours and your child's.

  • When Your Kids Push Your Buttons - And What You Can Do About It, by Bonnie Harris, M.S.; Warner Books, 2003. A parent educator and counselor offers useful tips for handling anger in dealing with toddlers through teens, with emphasis on parent's understanding of his or her own ideas, perceptions and reactions.