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Controlling Anger: An Essential Skill for Educators

Controlling Anger: An Essential Skill for Educators 1

A US TV channel presented a series on the views of children on the way in which their parents discipline them. The channel hosted some intelligent children who are able to articulate their views clearly and strongly every week, and in doing so, they would ask them a set of questions.

In one of the episodes, a mother listened to her child on the television expressing his views and notes, and talking about the issue of disciplining. The mother was greatly astonished when she heard what her son had said. The reason will be shown in this dialogue that took place between the mother and her son when he returned home.

Mother: Have I ever cut any amount of your daily pocket money as a punishment?
Son: No.
Mother: Have I ever confined you in your room all day?
Son: No.
Mother: Have I ever told you that I will stop you from playing because you are a naughty child?
Son: No.
Mother: So, why did you claim that I had done all these things with you on television?
Son: I had to say all these things; otherwise, I would have had to say that you yell at me every day!

Dear readers and people responsible for the upbringing process,

Perhaps this scene is often repeated in many homes – unchecked anger explodes, resulting in furious outbursts, throwing insults and name-calling. And who is the target of all these things? It is the nearest and dearest person to your heart – your child!

Does the responsibility of raising children cause a psychological crisis for the people who are responsible for it?

In the absence of positive programming of behavior and parenting attitudes towards the disruptive, inappropriate and unacceptable behavior of their children, caregivers may resort to actions and reactions that are associated with anger and tension, and these are usually negative and destructive. Thus, our Prophet warned us against acting in the state of anger and ordered us to do things that remove it and reduce its intensity. That is because at such times, a person may often act rashly.

What is anger?

Linguistically, anger is the opposite of satisfaction and – according to Ibn ‘Arafah – it is a state in the hearts of human beings which is praiseworthy sometimes and dispraised at other times. The praiseworthy type of anger is that which happens to support religion and the truth in the context of correction and reforming. Beyond these contexts, anger becomes dispraised.

What happens when you become angry?

Controlling Anger: An Essential Skill for Educators 2Agitation sparks involuntary reactions, which irritate the nerves, move the emotions, suspend thinking, make one lose his balance and it increases the heart rate, blood pressure and the flow of blood to the brain. The organs are disturbed and this clearly shows on the person’s features – his color changes, he trembles, his limbs shake, he is not in his normal moderate mood, his appearance becomes ugly, and he behaves in a manner that is beyond his normal boundaries. If the person does not restrain himself, his tongue will utter foul words and insults and his hand will stretch out to beat and commit violence.
During angry outbursts, one’s heart rate accelerates per minute to double the quantity of the blood flow that the heart pumps or that which runs in the blood vessels with each pulse. This causes high blood pressure and increases the secretion of adrenaline.

Should we lose our temper whenever our children make a mistake? How can we bring them up successfully knowing that this stage is characterized by making mistakes; since they lack knowledge and experience in many of their life affairs and are supposed to be living under their parents’ guidance and care? Therefore, whoever is responsible for the upbringing process must learn the art of anger management, because controlling one’s temper has a significant impact on controlling the behavior of your children. If you keep yourself calm and manage to get through the difficult situations without agitating your anger, your communication with your children will be more effective and your punishment will be more efficient.

Therefore, we invite you to manage your anger, not to cancel it. The Prophet recommended us to avoid anger, and at the same time he praised the one who becomes angry when the rules of Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation) are violated. He made this prohibition only to warn against the negative effects of anger and forbade us from negative anger. It is possible that man’s anger and agitation turn to positive qualities should he properly manage and control them. We do not mean to cancel it altogether because angry feelings are the source of power and interaction, and represent the sign of his concern about his religion and values. These feelings help man protect his life, religion, honor and property.

Concerning the upbringing process, if parents and people who assume the responsibility of raising children do not become angry about the unacceptable behavior of their children, this will be a sign of the passivity of the educator and his lack of responsibility. It also shows his incorrect estimation of the Hereafter-related results of negligence in raising the children.

Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allaah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.} [Quran 66:6] The Prophet said: “Allaah will question every caretaker concerning those whom He put under his care whether he had borne the responsibility or neglected it.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

Keep your energy for construction not destruction:

If a person does not control himself in critical situations and surrenders to the dictates of anger and strong agitation, he will find himself consuming an enormous quantity of his inner energy, which is supposed to be exploited in the process of construction, education, teaching, constructive dialogue, developing the skills of the children and enjoying a quiet everyday life. This kind of life is full of worshiping Allaah The Almighty, reciting the Quran, good companionship inside the family, helping people and even removing harmful objects from the road.

Come and take the following steps towards anger management:

Controlling Anger: An Essential Skill for Educators 3– Always remind yourself that uncontrollable anger is one of the features of weakness in the upbringing process, whereas curbing and managing anger as well as acting fairly with the children while in this state, represents the apex of the strength and positivity of the person who assumes the upbringing process and it is a meritorious quality distinguishing the righteous slaves of Allaah The Almighty. It was narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet said: “There is no dose that is more rewarded by Allaah The Almighty than a dose of anger that a slave restrains for His sake.” [Ibn Maajah] [Al-Albaani: Saheeh]

– At the moment of anger when you feel that an ember is burning inside you, start counting from one to ten before uttering any word and ask yourself this question, “What should I say now to make my child benefit from this situation?”

– Review the situation that sparked your anger because of your child and rethink the motives behind such acts. For instance, your child spilled a cup of milk on his clothes during breakfast because he was trying to be independent and he did not intend to annoy you. Your agitation in this situation prevents him from trying to do this again successfully.

– Express what you feel to your child while you are angry and address him with strong words that take him to a higher level of behavior, which you were expecting of him. An angry father, for example, may say, “Son, I was angry about your misbehavior yesterday when you came home late. I was expecting you to be aware of the proper time when you should return home which I previously set for you.”

– Use the method of neglect and temporary desertion. You might not talk with your child for long hours or answer his questions with lengthy speech. Show no concern for him till the blaze of anger dies down, taking into account the level of strictness in doing so. Surely, you will realize that this method is very fruitful in guiding the child compared to the other methods that you might resort to when you are angry.

– Remember that lowering your voice while talking to children helps you feel less angry and demonstrates your ability to control yourself and control them. If the child sees that you have lost control of your temper, this portrays you as a weak person, and he will imitate your weakness or take advantage of it.

– You can use written messages to express your refusal of some of your children’s requests or behavior. This is an efficient way that can be used with all people; like spouses, friends and children. That is because we think more wisely, analytically, and rationally when we write than when we improvise decisions, judgments and reprimands. Also, agitation cannot be conveyed through writing as clearly as through speaking. By doing so, you will certainly notice that the intensity of our anger and the anger of our children will decrease.

– Seek the help of Allaah The Almighty in carrying out your decisions and always remember the advice of the Prophet “Do not get angry.” Use the methods that the Prophet instructed us to do in order to resist anger, such as making ablution, taking a bath, changing one’s position from standing to sitting and from sitting to lying down, and frequently seeking refuge with Allaah The Almighty from the accursed Satan.

Finally, whoever is assuming the upbringing process, remember the following:

Successful management of one’s agitation and anger is real strength. The Prophet taught us, saying: “A strong person is not the one who overpowers others; rather, a strong person is the one who controls himself at the time of anger.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

It also means caring for others, looking for right solutions to change the children’s unacceptable behavior, and determination to succeed in your upbringing duty without severing the strong bonds which connect you together.

Raging anger remains a negative and destructive force in which the child’s response comes out artificial and temporary because it occurred due to fear or the desire to assuage anger and its consequences. It does not change the reality of the child for the better, but often aggravates it.

Now, start immediately and decide that: “From now on, there will be no more violence or anger with our children – Allaah willing.”