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Steam coming out of your ears. A tomato red face. Clenched fists. Cartoon depictions of anger may seem funny, but real anger is anything but laughable and parents are likely to experience it occasionally.

Every situation can be different. However, this article will help you better understand why anger is an important emotion to manage effectively and what you can do if you and your parenting partner is experiencing it. Keep reading for some first-hand tips and tricks to help manage anger and teach your children to manage their own heightened emotions.

There can be many reasons parents might feel anger, including one or a combination of the following:

  • a lack of sleep
  • financial stress
  • work-related stress
  • additional responsibilities at home or in the workplace

When stress levels are higher, it can be more difficult for parents to control their anger when even little things go wrong.

Uncontrolled anger can look different for people. For some individuals, it can involve loud outbursts and physical displays. For others, it may involve seething or dwelling on events that made them mad.

Long-term effects of uncontrolled anger can include negative health consequences and relationship issues. Uncontrolled anger can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. It can also lead to fractured relationships with family, friends, or work colleagues — including those people who may be important in a child’s life.

Excessive expressions of anger can lead to long-term physical and psychosocial damage. It can even change the way your child’s brain processes sound and language.

Instead of helping correct behavior, studies have shown that yelling and anger can often lead to an increase in undesirable behaviors. It can also lead to depression and anxiety.

Children who witness yelling and anger can develop a pattern of mistrust, poor social relationships, and unhealthy lifestyle decisions. The stress of experiencing it can impact their hormones and endocrine systems. It can also lead to long-term health problems, including chronic conditions.

If you are experiencing feelings of anger often, it can be helpful to look at when your anger is most frequently triggered. This can help you develop a long-term plan to reduce feelings of anger.

Tips for Parents

If you or your partner is feeling angry in ways that impact your own or children’s lives, you may wish to try the following:

  • Take a second to walk away from the situation (after making sure everyone is safe, of course!).
  • Focus on slowing your breathing or silently counting to 10.
  • Join a parenting or other support group.
  • Engage in a sport or other type of exercise.

You may also wish to speak with a therapist about your anger. Studies have suggested that approximately 75% of people receiving anger management therapy improved as a result.

At least one study has shown that group-based anger management programs can be effective for parents. Mothers in the anger management program reported an improvement in their attitude and parenting that was sustained even after the program ended.

Group therapy may be useful for parents in combating isolation and providing additional support networks. Some individuals may wish to use it in combination with individual therapy to gain the unique benefits both types of therapy offer.

Children experience feelings of anger, too. It’s important for parents to help their children understand how to appropriately process these feelings.

If your child or teen is experiencing feelings of anger, you can help them by:

  • Offering them a safe way to physically work through emotions like going on a bike ride or run.
  • Teaching them artistic ways to express their feelings like journaling or painting.
  • Modeling appropriate anger management yourself.
  • Avoiding violent media.
  • Helping them identify their triggers.
  • Seeking out therapists and support groups as appropriate.
  • Praising even small efforts to handle anger in appropriate ways.

If you are struggling to control your feelings of anger, many resources are available.

  • There is a variety of online and in-person anger management classes available for adults. (If you’re needing certification of completion, you may wish to consider an online class like the one offered by Open Path. For educators, Yale University offers a free online course.)
  • Individual counseling is also available locally as well as virtually through companies like BetterHelp. If you are unsure where to start, your doctor may be able to provide you with a referral to a therapist they trust.
  • If your feelings of anger are triggered by issues with your partner, you may wish to find a local marriage and family therapist to work through any challenges as a couple.
  • There are also a variety of books and workbooks for parents that discuss anger management techniques.

Feelings of anger are common. But it’s important to control how these feelings are displayed. Excessive displays of anger by parents can have long-term physical and psychological effects on children and other household members. They also aren’t shown to solve behavioral issues.

There are many different techniques to manage anger as a parent, but it’s important to seek help if you are struggling. A therapist can work with you to identify triggers and put a plan in place.