Staying Calm When Stressed Out - What is Underlying Emotion?

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As a parent educator and family relationship coach, I work with families just like yours and mine all over the world. When I asked participants in my parenting classes what they do when they are angry or stressed, they say that they yell, swear, throw a shoe or other object or threaten their kids with a punishment.

Punishment is a temporary fix for a long term problem. That may have made the adult feel better temporarily and stopped the child's behavior for that minute. Anger is a basic human emotion. It is necessary to help us make changes in our lives. Anger is only one letter away from danger. It is dangerous to use emotions to force others into submission or to vent rage on people or things.

What Does the Child Learn?
The child learns to kick, throw, yell, swear and threaten those smaller than them if that is how they see the adults in their lives handle stress and anger. Rarely does anything happen in families when you get upset and lose control.

A child's underlying need is to feel safe, loved and protected. Teach with discipline (guide, teacher, mentor) but never punishment (mean, hurtful and demeaning)

Underlying Emotions to Anger
Many times what we are angry at has nothing to do with the child or his behavior. It is only a handy scapegoat. Unfortunately, the child assumes that when you are angry or stressed that it is directly related to him or her, because of their limited experience with the outside world.

Your Underlying Needs
What do you need to feel safe? What would make you calm in the middle of stress? What would give you peace in your heart no matter how much chaos was going on around you?

The feelings we are looking for are: empowered, confident, involved, passionate, hopeful, respected, listened to and being valued. These emotions do not co-exist with stress and frustration but only with a sense of well-being and calm.

To Help You Handle Stress
S Stop what you are doing
T Take a deep breath
R Reflect on who owns the problem
E Evaluate if it is worth a heart attack
S See a picture in your mind of green mountains, flowing river, lilacs or clouds
S Say out loud; "This too shall pass."

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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