Episode 11

“I’m Tired of the Yelling!”
Why are we so angry (and what can we do about it)? 

December 27, 2021

[Kyle]: The ability to be composed and regulate my anger is directly compared to the integrity in our home. So, if I want to raise children that have integrity, who are honest, I need to be honest with myself about how much my anger is hindering that.

[Kyle]: Hello and welcome to episode 11 in The Art of Raising Humans podcast. I'm Kyle.

[Sara]: I’m Sara.

[Kyle]: And this should be, if everything's correct Sara, if we've got our timing correct, this should be dropping right after Christmas. So, I want to say Merry Christmas!

[Kyle]: Hope you had a fantastic Christmas and as I was thinking about the subject on this time, I mean, this is a time when a lot of family comes around, maybe kids are around more. Maybe emotions are high because there's a lot of joy, but a lot of sadness and disappointment. Maybe kids didn't get things they wanted, that they wish they would have, which maybe we’d go back and listen to that gratitude podcast a couple of-- About that, because I think Christmas time is a great time to help develop gratitude with the gift giving and all that kind of stuff.

[Kyle]: But I thought discussing anger would be a really good one to discuss, to give-- I’m just for you and I to discuss how we handle that, to how we see it, because I think maybe there might be some tantrums, you know? There might be some big feelings of anger over this time.

[Sara]: Well, holidays are beautiful and wonderful, they’re also times of high stress. We have a lot going on with my family get togethers, late nights, busy days and all that stress makes it much easier to get angry.

[Kyle]: Yeah, and this is a time also for kids to see how you regulate your anger, right? And a lot of good modeling can happen during this time too, okay? So, first of all, what does anger look like for us? And by us I mean you and me [Laughter] So, what does anger look like for us? Why don't you--? How do you--? How does anger impact you, Sara, and how do you express it?

[Sara]: I would have said I very rarely feel angry. I can feel frustrated, but anger is not a feeling-- I was very good at avoiding anger. I think now as I just do some personal growth, I try to be more aware of that irritated, frustrated, mad, angry spectrum.

[Kyle]: The whole range, yeah.

[Sara]: Yeah. I don't like the feeling, it's my least favorite feeling and, what was the rest of the question? [Laughter]

[Kyle]: [Laughter] What does anger look like for you? How do you express it?

[Sara]: I generally will shut down, depending. If I feel like I can express it to the person, I might, but most of the time, 99% of people, I feel like “no, I just need to shut it down, just stuff it inside” and I might slip into more passive, you know? That shutdown's more passive-aggressive withdrawal.

[Sara]: I can do a lot of it. If I’m upset with you, I’m just going to withdraw and shut down.

[Kyle]: Yeah. Typically, you rarely express anger in the house. If you do, we all know something's up [Laughter] Because we’re like “mom seems upset, so we all need to pay attention now because--".

[Sara]: You pushed it really far.

[Kyle]: Exactly, because typically anger is a feeling I’m comfortable with. I know early on in marriage, a lot of times “you don't have to get so angry”, “I’m not angry, I’m frustrated”, you know? To me frustration was a normal feeling that I felt many times throughout the day [Laughter] I was very comfortable with it, I was very comfortable expressing it. You and I both had two different approaches to it [Laughter] It was very-- I’d say a lot of our early conflicts were me being so confused as to why you were so surprised at what was upsetting me. Because even with my guy friends, you know? In college and my best friends, we were angry with each other, we would yell at each other. I remember, you know, I would call up my friend Josh and I’d be talking to him about some sports related things, some football game and we'd be screaming at each other on the phone [Laughter] And even when Josh was over at the house. You know, Josh, I remember one time when we were in a really big argument about something and he loved to take the devil's advocate side and we'd be like debating and arguing and he would tell you. Well, the reason why he does that is because he loves me too much to let me be wrong [Laughter]

[Sara]: I was pretty sure when-- The first time I heard these arguments I thought “that's it, that friendship's over”. I would never be speaking to that person again if we had gone to that intensity, but then somehow, you guys are laughing and hugging and having a great time when it's all done [ Laughter] And I think I had never seen anything like that in my life.

[Kyle]: But I do want to say that it was immature lots of times.

[Kyle]: The anger was, there was a lot of growth that needed to happen, it was way too much the feeling and all too common in our culture, like I said, anger is typically okay in guys. Lots of times that is culturally. So, I felt like “hey, it's okay for me to be angry”, you know? And typically, it's downplayed or less desirable in girls or stuff like, that are seen as more of an issue, you know? And so, I know I had this kind of immature view that me and Josh now don't do that anymore, we're much more tall people and I remember even when we had a really good conversation one time, when we were getting that and I just “I don't like this, I don't want to do this anymore”. Like, I mean, “Sara has expanded me, Sara has shown me a different way of communicating”.

[Kyle]: I remember even early on, funny enough we used to play video games together you and I. When we first married, lots of people were jealous of me because I had a wife who would stay until 3 a.m. playing Halo with me, but I would get so mad at you during the video games [Laughter] Because you weren't shooting the alien quick enough or something and I remember you would say “I don't like this”, like “I do not want to play with you if you're going to keep yelling at me” and I’d be like “what is wrong with you!? You're not shooting the guy!? How else am I supposed to get you to shoot him!?”. So, you really expanded, I started thinking like “man, I do love playing with her. If yelling at her isn't working, I need to shift that, I need to change that”. So, when I was writing this thing down about anger, I was thinking about typically, what I didn't realize I was using it for, is anger's typically a feeling we use as a way to intimidate and influence.

[Sara]: Yeah, I’d say kind of control.

[Kyle]: Yeah, yeah, kind of get control. What I saw it as with the word control is, I couldn't control what was happening in me, so I would use anger to control the other person, you know? Whether it was the--

[Sara]: To help you feel better.

[Kyle]: Exactly, to help me feel in control.

[Kyle]: Because I felt out of control, right? And so, if I could get big enough, you know, with my anger, then I could cause the situation to change, you know? I think it's really like, we see a pattern and we feel kind of helpless to do anything about it and so, we get really big and angry to influence the pattern to make a change and so, all of a sudden instead of feeling helpless, I feel powerful and you can see that like, think about anger, what is it? I’m trying to get bigger. Well, how am I getting bigger? Sometimes with my arms, I like to wave my arms a lot when I’m getting mad. My voice gets louder, so I’m trying to take up more space and I’m basically saying “I am powerful. You think I’m helpless and weak? I’m not, I’m powerful”.

[Sara]: Yeah. Well, because anger a lot of times, kind of is this-- There's usually other feelings behind the anger, but those are more vulnerable feelings and it's harder to go there, don't necessarily want to think about how “oh, maybe I’m not feeling enough in this moment. Maybe I feel like you're betraying me, my feelings are hurt”, but instead of going there, which feels more vulnerable, anger feels more comfortable and especially for men, it feels more comfortable. It's acceptable, I’ll be angry and it's more of an attack mode, where the other one makes you feel--

[Kyle]: Well. So, you said like you would be more passive-aggressive, I definitely was leaning towards aggressive, yeah? And I remember early on, some of the ways we tried to help each other with this was, one, we tried to get rid of the language of “someone makes me mad”, right? So, I want to hit that. We didn't hit that in the feeling episode last, but I really want to encourage everybody who's listening, just throw that out, okay? Nobody makes me feel anything, I choose to feel what I feel, okay? It may seem like you're helpless to it, but you are always choosing to feel what you feel. So, I remember one time, you had a boss who was kind of hard to work with and you would come home and say “my boss makes me so mad”, but one day we had a good laugh when you said “my boss gave me the opportunity to be angry today and I took that opportunity” and it just sounded more honest, it sounded more freeing, because if you took the opportunity today, you don't have to take the opportunity tomorrow, right?

[Sara]: Well, it puts me back in the seat of “oh, my feelings don't run me” or somebody does something and I just “well. that's it, I just have to feel angry, all right?” or “this happens and I just have to feel--“, you know? You can feel, that's totally fine, but we're not a puppet where our emotions are being driven by all this external thing. All the events happening around me, all the people around me, they're in control of my feelings, they're making me so mad and so, when you just, I think, you own it, it frees you to do something about it. Because regardless of what the other person is doing, I can choose me and what I’m doing and what I’m feeling and I can do something about that.

[Kyle]: Yeah, when you say it makes you so mad, it leaves you powerless to change it and also justifies however angry you get, because they made you do that, you know? And so, I think the switch for us was a couple of things. One, was the impact I started seeing my anger have. I saw it impact you and I saw that you didn't like it, but I thought “well, okay, I want to change that”. I don't want to keep it, I don't want to hurt you, you know, stop playing video games with me or be withdrawn when I’m getting upset, so I want to work on that, but even more so, there was two key things. One, I remember Dr. Markham when I was doing training with her saying “what if we videotaped our faces when we were mad and yelling?” and I thought “wow, I don't want to do that because I think I would look pretty crazy” [Laughter]

[Kyle]: And I think it'd be interesting for all of you who are listening, to think about that. What if you videotaped when you were getting really big and mad and yelling at your kid? How would you look, you know, to the kid? And then, the other one was, I remember one time being in the car when Abby was just a little baby. Go ahead.

[Sara]: Oh, I was going to cut in on that.

[Kyle]: Yeah, do it.

[Sara]: You might be big and angry, but what if you look shut down, withdrawn? What if you look like “I don't love you right now because you are upsetting me”?

[Sara]: Because that's the other side of that and I think it's very important to mention. Some people are big and yelling and that's scary, but some people are “I’m mad at you, I don't love you, you are not enough”.

[Sara]: Yeah, and pull back and give you that cold stare and that that hurts too.

[Kyle]: It does, it does.

[Sara]: So, you gotta hold that, either can be--

[Kyle]: I’ve done that, I actually did that. When I started “stop yelling Kyle!”, I shifted to that [Laughter] So, I remember the big times I was mad and I just shut off any emotion to where the kids couldn't reach my heart and I was like “no, no, you will suffer. I’ll shut down”.

[Sara]: And that hurts. That hurts a relationship deeply.

[Kyle]: It does, it does and so-- But then the other aspect was, I was thinking-- I remember one time when I started noticing the impact, Abby was a little baby, she was in the back seat. I was talking to you on the phone and something happened in traffic and I raised my voice at this thing that happened and Abby started crying. I was like “I don't know what's wrong with Abby, she's crying” and then you were like “Kyle, you were just yelling at this other thing, she has no idea why you were--” and I was like “oh no”, like I didn't realize, I didn't even put that together that my feelings could impact her. I just assumed this little baby, she'd be oblivious to what I’m doing, but she was scared, right? And so, that's where I started seeing the impact it could have and what we know, just from the research, is anger does hurt and it hinders connection. So, if you haven't listened to the previous podcast about feelings, I’d love for you to go back to that just so you understand that we're not talking about getting rid of anger, we're not talking about like “don't be frustrated, don't be mad”. No, feel these feelings, just let's understand what to do with them and what I was doing with them was letting them take me over or you were letting them shut you down, right? And that anger hurts and hinders the connection, which is really the only influence we have in our kids.

[Sara]: It's almost not even the feeling of anger, right? It's what we do. If you come in yelling strong, that's gonna hurt the relationship. If you come in as cold as ice and withdrawn, that hurts the relationship too. So, it's not just the feeling, it's the behaviors that follow the feeling and that's what we're talking about.

[Kyle]: And then when Dr. Siegel, when he's doing his brain research in his books, he talks about these moments where we do yell our kids or pull away, as toxic ruptures and that really hit home too. It almost seemed like, you're adding toxicity into it and he even says in his books that you can't make that go away like, it's going to be there. Now, we'll talk about things that you and I do to help minimize the damage and repair, but once you've done it, it's put some toxicity in there, you know? So, just like anything, if a boss screamed at you or a friend did that, it would change the relationship a little bit, you know? You'd be a little bit less honest with them.

[Sara]: Like if it never existed and then it did, it just, it does now and you can't make it not exist.

[Kyle]: Another big impact I see with anger is kids and this is just also proven through research, kids are less likely to be honest, right?

[Sara]: Definitely

[Kyle]: Almost every kid I see who lies and you know, the parents are mad that the kid has lied, they say “I didn't tell them the truth because I thought they would yell at me” or “I thought I’d get grounded” or “I thought I would--”. I’ve seen some parents try to do like a truth table, you know? Where they just like “hey, whatever you say to me here, it stays here” and it's awesome when the kid hears it like, “are you serious?”. The kid's like “oh, I can say anything right now? I can really tell you?” and they actually want to be honest, they want to have the connection, they wish--

[Sara]: Yeah, they want to let go of that burden they're carrying around and it always creates space between you, right? But if I can tell you anything, now there's no distance between us.

[Kyle]: And I’ve seen what the anger done too is, with some parents is really, they're mad about the lying, but really when I hear them talk to one another, it's really like the parents’ truth is the only truth and unless the kid agrees with that truth, they're lying and so, the kid says “well, I need to tell them whatever truth they're willing to accept”, you know? And so, they learn through that fear like, I’m watching to see “are you about to blow up at me? Okay, then I need to change the story so it's more palatable to you”. It reminds me of that movie “A few good men”, when he says “you can't handle the truth!” and I feel like, I know I can fall into that, you know? I mean, I know sometimes the kids will tell me something that I don't want to hear and, how do I let them know that? I get really mad.

[Sara]: And we just gotta be honest too, we do the same thing. If you have to tell your boss something you know your boss is not gonna like, aren't you thinking of choosing your words carefully? You're thinking “how much of the whole story am I going to tell here? How am I going to say it? Do I have to tell them?”. If you're about-- If you have a conflict with your spouse, if there's something you've got to go and tell your best friend, you know, people that are in your lives, we're doing the same thing and sometimes we elect not to tell them too.

[Kyle]: Yeah, and so, any time I’m seeing a kid not be honest, almost every time it's due to anger in the home, it's due to some fear of what the reaction is going to be, right? Either the parents going to withdraw from them or they're going to be aggressive towards them. So, I really-- I love how Dr. Becky Bailey ties that in together, the ability to be composed and regulate my anger, is directly compared to the integrity in our home. So, if I want to raise children that have integrity, who are honest, I need to be honest with myself about how much my anger is hindering that.

[Sara]: Yeah, yeah. It's asking a lot of kids to just be like “I know they're going to be mad and disappointed. I know they might withdraw their love or punish me or whatever”, it's asking a lot of a little human, to be brave enough to say “I’m going to take it because it's important to be honest”. [Laughter]

[Kyle]: “Even if you're going to lecture me for an hour and yell at me. I think it's really important to be honest”.

[Sara]: Flip side of that, it's really hard to be a parent composed in those moments.

[Sara]: That's really, really hard [Laughter]

[Kyle]: It is hard. Well, and I’m thinking-- So, another story that just happened a couple weeks ago, Abby and I did this thing, we spoke at this mops event and I was talking about feelings and anger came up and Abby was talking about how I used to not appreciate feelings as much and I do more now, but as she was driving home, she said “you know dad? I lost my water bottle and I can't find it and I haven't told you for a couple days, because I was afraid of how mad you get at me”, because she's lost a lot of things. [Laughter] So, sometimes, obviously I get upset about that and my natural inclination is to get angry and to go “why did you lose it!?” and do this all, even though that doesn't seem to be helping.

[Sara]: Hopefully, that's going to prevent her from-- Like, if I’m mad enough at her, she'll never lose something again.

[Kyle]: Yeah. So, she'll never want me to get mad again, all it did was, when she lost it again, she didn't want to tell me, you know? And what's funny about it, she actually didn't lose it, we found it. She ended up finding it, it was in the garage in one of the camping chairs, folded up [Laughter] So, I see this all the time, how anger causes kids to pull back or kids to not be as honest, you know? So, Sara started hitting upon the idea of, what is anger for? Really, what is-- If we're looking at anger, a lot of times we-- Even the anger management therapy, when people are doing those, I used to do those kind of groups is, it was all-- The focus was on the anger, but I liked how Sara kind of started hitting at, you started talking about anger is a cover, right? So, what I would say to a client it's there’s a secondary emotion that underneath anger. What anger's trying to do is protect me from more like, vulnerable feelings like fear and hurt. Typically, it's fear and hurt. Typically, for a parent it's fear of failure, fear of being incompetent, fear of just like, screwing up your kid. I mean, I know it's kind of how every parent will say it, right? Fear of being judged, you know? Fear that the kid is becoming like them, you know, whatever the fear is, possibly some kind of fear or it hurt their feelings, you know? I know I’ve experienced that when the kids have said something really poignant to me and it hurt my feelings and my reaction was anger.

[Kyle]: So, go ahead.

[Sara]: Nothing

[Kyle]: Okay, yes. So, with that, I encourage clients to be more open to not just focusing on what is the anger, right? But really focusing what's underneath there, what does the fear hurt. So, for you, think about, what would be the fear hurt that would typically be under your anger?

[Sara]: Mine would probably-- In regards to my kids, because for everything would be different, but if I’m upset with them, it's usually I’ve done something wrong, you know? For this to be going on, I somehow failed as a parent or I haven't gotten, you know, I just haven't taught them what they needed to know, it comes back. I’m usually-- Or I’m upset with myself for not having-- I let it go too far and I didn't hold to my boundaries or my wishes.

[Kyle]: Yeah, it's good.

[Sara]: And because I can kind of-- I think moms can do this a lot, but you can kind of tune out of your own needs and what you want or what's important to you and you can kind of, all your stuff is set aside to take care of everyone else.

[Sara]: And after a while, it's almost like I get upset with myself for letting it go as far as it did.

[Kyle]: I think mine is more a fear that I have no influence, that they don't care what I’m saying, that really bothers me. So, if I feel like I’ve said something and they don't seem to be just like, boom! Going to, it's like “they don't even care what I say!”, you know?

[Sara]: “I’m unimportant”.

[Kyle]: “That's right, I’ve gotta get so much bigger and make sure they hear it this time, you know?” Definitely, don't like feeling stupid either, so the fear of being stupid or looking like I don't know what I’m talking about. I like to feel like I know what I’m talking about, even though I obviously don't always, but it is frustrating when a kid points it out to you [Laughter]

[Kyle]: So, it's important to know these things. I would encourage you if you're listening to this podcast, to think about what is under your anger. Once again, like the previous podcast we did about feelings, it tells you more about you, you know? Like, Sara's answer was totally different, your answer was totally different than mine. I like this picture too, Sara. Ignoring your anger is like a warning light on your car that just keeps going off. So, just picturing anger is that, in your kid or in yourself, it's just a warning light on your car. So, if a kid is exploding and mad, what's underneath there?

[Kyle]: And we can put a piece of tape over it, like a little black electrical tape so you don't even see it anymore, but it's still there.

[Kyle]: So, if a kid is getting mad and they're throwing a big tantrum, their anger is getting up high, it's telling me there's some fear or there's some hurt. So, if I can help the kid understand that better, then they're better able then to articulate that rather than the anger.

[Sara]: Yeah, you actually-- When we're angry, we want to shut them down, send them to their room, do something like that, but we actually need to draw close. We need to move into the relationship and we need to be safe doing that, because otherwise they're going to be bigger anger and they're going to pull back further or things like that, but we need to be a safe person and move into that relationship, so hopefully they feel safe enough to drop the anger and talk about what's really going on.

[Kyle]: Now, I want to shift to, how do you help yourself do this? So, I’ll first talk about how I have tried to work on my anger, because you know it's been a work in progress. Still got a lot of growth to do, but one thing I noticed at first when I was trying to be less angry, because I get mad at myself a lot. So, if I did blow up with the kids or yell at them, I’d beat myself up for a couple days and I found that's not working and, of course, I would tell no client to do that because it's just shame, I’m just building shame, I’m like “why did you fail? Why'd you--?”. So, instead, going back to what we talked about gratitude too, I wanted to be grateful and notice the progress, right? And so, there's three ways I started measuring my anger to kind of go “yay! you're getting better!” and it was-- I liked measuring the frequency of how often was I blowing up, I mean, I was doing it daily, you know? Initially I wanted to get to like three times a week maybe. Then, duration, how long did my anger last? I mean, you know, my anger would last 24 hours or more, I’d still be mad about something stupid that happened the day before and I watched--

[Sara]: No, you game.

[Kyle]: And I wanted to shift [Laughter] I wanted to shift to where that could go quicker, you know? And I could get-- Move through the anger quicker and then, intensity, how big did my anger get? So, frequency, duration and intensity, and I can say with confidence, I think you would agree, all those have gotten so much better. I’m not as angry as frequent, it lasts much less time, I can find myself shifting within less than a minute from anger to some other feeling, right? And then, intensity, it doesn't get up to like an 8, 9 or 10 anymore, try to just keep it like a 6 or lower; would love to just max out at a 4, you know? But what do you do to help notice your growth with anger? How do you work on It?

[Sara]: Well, I think for me, I have to work on accepting it and not just moving past it. I kind of shut down, I shut down to others, but I shut down to myself. Just “sure, make it all go away”, you know? And then, it'll get better somehow, I’m hopeful, you know? It'll all just go away and be better, but to actually stop, notice it, accept it. “Okay, I’m frustrated about blah, blah, blah” and then, do the practice of, “what am I really upset about? What's really behind it?” And I think, what helps me is, doing intentional practices with the kids, because the more I think about practicing-- I’m actually better when I’m trying to help them with it too, you know? “Here we are, we're angry, what are we angry about?” Do the practice with them of, “take a step back, breathe, accept your anger, think about what's really bothering you” and as I practice with them, I grow in it myself.

[Kyle]: That's so great, Sara. You're kind of beating me to the idea too, of how we didn't help our kids through the anger, right? Of course, we can talk about-- You know, a lot of this podcast as you've noticed, is about us growing as humans, to be the humans we'd like our kids to become. So, all that stuff's fantastic, you know? So, just like you were saying “my anger”, I had a story that when I would blow up, the narrative I had was “you need to be a better dad, you stink as a dad because you keep doing this”, right? And that story was not helping me. So, same way, you'll find kids have a similar story, you know?

[Kyle]: Kids actually don't like hurting you, kids actually don't like hurting their siblings. I’m telling you; I see the shame in sessions when they blow up at their parents, you know? I’m sure you've experienced it as well, they beat themselves up, they think “I’m a horrible kid, what kind of kid does that?”, you know? They'll tell. So, you as the parent, be able to go back and help guide that story with them, by teaching them skills such as breathing techniques, other kind of calming down things, but also uncovering what is really underneath there.

[Kyle]: And then, helping guide that story so they understand themselves and they're not scared of their anger, you know? And they don't have to be controlled by it, but they also don't have to stuff it, yeah? So, then I think, one more thing I want to add that I try to do with the kids, just to kind of help with that story is, whenever I do get mad and blow up with the kids, a common question I will ask them is, “is my anger about you or about me?” and early on, when I started doing this, almost 100% of times the kids would say it’s about them, you know? And like, you can see that, like they were taking it-- Obviously, they were getting a--

[Sara]: Children do, they're always gonna “it’s my fault you’re upset. It’s my fault you’re sad. It’s my fault you’re--”.

[Kyle]: Yeah. Your feelings are always about me. Yeah, and so, then I would say “no, it's not, my anger is about me, my anger is never about you, it's about me. Can I tell you what it tells me about me?” and then I’d say “I was afraid that when I told you X, Y and Z and you didn't do it, that my voice no longer mattered to you and so, that's why I got really big and loud, okay? And so, I’m sorry I did that”. So, part of the repair and helping with that toxic rupture stuff we talked about, was to me helping shine a light really what was happening, you know? That I knew the kids would think it's about them, because that's what kids do and the more I could tell them it isn't about them, I mean, what I think is so cool with that is, now when they become teenagers and they grow up, they won't think their anger is about me either. They'll understand their anger is about them and they'll be curious about the anger within them and what it reveals to them about them.

[Sara]: Yeah, and the other side of-- You said when you get big and upset, but the same thing, when you find that you've withdrawn or gone cold or you know, pulled back from your child and from that relationship, kids are so sensitive they pick up on that and you need to go back to that relationship and you need to call, you need to say it, you need to say “wow, I was upset and I kind of withdrew for a while”, because kids will, you know, they'll say “well, yeah, I didn't think you loved me anymore” or you know, you want to invite those conversations to happen.

[Sara]: And make sure that you connect back in with them.

[Kyle]: Yeah, and so, on the last part I was thinking, anytime a couple comes in and there is the kid they're saying that is angry, either he's angry shutting down or angry explosive, my first question is “which parent is modeling that to the kid?”, okay? And I’m saying that because I think that's a really helpful thing, not to put blame, but to say “who could possibly help this kid the most it's that person”. I think if that person could see that and own that in themselves and then, they could co-create with their kid how to approach the feeling in a healthier way. You know, I’d love for that parent to sit down and say “listen, the way you struggle, I struggle the same way. Hey, let's work on this together”, you know? And then, you can start “let's do breathing techniques together, let's pause, let's do a yellow light warning if we're getting too angry, let's just walk away for a moment and come back to it, right?”

[Sara]: What do we like to do? What helps you feel better? What helps you?

[Kyle]: Exactly, yes, and then the kid could say “dad, you're getting kind of mad or mom, you're getting kind of upset” and “oh, you're right, we're working on that, right?”. You know, I even love-- Markham has this one funny idea, Markham would not-- Neither would we recommend doing a reward chart, but doing one for parents of taking a vow of yellibacy and what that's doing is, trying to just help the parent be more aware of how often the kids think they're yelling and so, they have like a sticker chart they put on the fridge and every day the kids get to say whether mom or dad yelled that day and after they get so many stars, they get, you know, they reward themselves in some way, right? It's kind of a fun way. Because I know when we-- I did something similar to that with the kids, there was days I thought I didn't yell at all and the kids like “no, you totally yelled” and it was really helpful to be like “oh, I was kind of mad”, but to me that didn't feel that big, to them they did. So, it helped me continue to reflect upon what they must be perceiving in these moments.

[Sara]: Yeah, and those conversations about what's behind the anger, will better happen after you've had a chance to calm down and connect.

[Kyle]: Yes, 100%.

[Sara]: So, calm down, feel better, go do art, ride your bike, play basketball.

[Kyle]: Yeah, regulate the emotion.

[Sara]: Get to a good space, connect with your child and have the conversation.

[Kyle]: And the way you know you're in a good space is, if you feel less like your hands are closed and your hands are more open, you know? You've shifted up to the prefrontal cortex now, your body will be less tense, you'll be less like aroused by the situation and instead, you can just go open-handed and discuss what happens.

[Sara]: And it'll be the same thing, if your child's the angry one, you got to look for those signs and then move into connect, be safe, talk about it. Build the skills when you're not upset, so when you are upset, you have something to-- That's not the moment to go “okay, now you need to breathe!”.

[Sara]: You've got to breathe when you're happy and feeling good.

[Kyle] So, thank you once again for joining in this conversation with us, Sara and I love sharing these with you. We want to say Merry Christmas, I hope this Christmas break is full of a bunch of memories and I guarantee there's going to be opportunities for anger and so, I hope this podcast has helped you be able to see anger in a different way and also, help your kids be able to grow from it, because I think all conflicts are opportunities for growth. All conflicts are opportunities to move towards each other, rather than away from each other, so I hope this Christmas you're finding a lot of opportunities with siblings, with parent, child, even a marriage, to move towards each other. So, thank you again for joining us in this conversation, we hope you'll join us next week. In January we should have four episodes again, as opposed to the three we did this month. Would love your feedback of any specific topics you would like us to tackle this next new year and be able to specifically talk about. Jump on to the iTunes and then rate us and all those kinds of fun things that really help us get our presence out there more to help more parents. So, have a Merry Christmas!

 

[Kyle]: The Art of Raising Humans podcast should not be considered or used as counseling, but for educational purposes only.