How to Control Anger When the Kids Push Your Buttons

I am a faulty human and nobody knows that better than my family.  The knowledge my children obtain from their observation of my ways can be used against me–to push my buttons! I wish my buttons weren’t so easily pushed, my moms weren’t.  Most of my memories of her are calm, steady, unflappable; except one.  She was standing in my room and she was uncharacteristically angry with me about the untidy condition of my belongings.  I must have given her some sassy retort because she turned and swept all the junk on my dresser onto the ground as she exited the room.  That is the only time I remember pushing my mom’s buttons to the breaking point.

It gives me a little comfort knowing my mom was not infallible.  However, I confess I am not my mom and get pushed much more by my kids.

My hot button would definitely be the red one–not listening.  Something about being too busy makes it a touchy one for me.  I just don’t have the patience to repeat my words over and over.  For example I often ask, “Please put your dishes in the dishwasher.” Then I walk in the kitchen and see the dishes.  Not my dishes, not clean dishes, no the dirty dishes of a thousand children.  The button ignites a fire in my mind that distorts my vision and the dishes grow into piles that reach to the ceiling.  Picture a Dr. Seuss disaster of Thing One and Thing Two proportions.

The by-product of my exaggerated vision is adrenaline and mine pours forth in a very unbecoming manner.  This lesson comes to you from the experience of years of failing to control my elevator of feelings.  So I am learning that to control my anger when the kids push my button I must seriously zone in and…

  1. See the button, recognize that it is being pushed but refuse to get on the elevator.  In other words, don’t let it take you to the penthouse of anger.
  2. See the button for what it is–a small thing like dishes and address the problem with unflappable wisdom like my mother did.
  3. See the button and remember you love the child who pushed the button more than you care about the button pushing behavior like dirty dishes.
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