How Listening Transforms Anger To Sadness


The other day I was feeling angry. I was stressed about getting the house ready for visitors. I was stressed about getting out of the house on time to go to the supermarket. I was snapping at my daughter, and although I kept apologising afterwards those apologies were starting to sound pretty meaningless as I repeated the same mistake over and over again.

I had the sense to tell my daughter that it wasn’t her fault, that I just hadn’t had enough listening time. Then I sent a message to my listening partner, and we arranged a ten minute listening time while my daughter watched TV.

As soon as I started to talking to my listening partner I began crying. I started talking about how in August my daughter would be starting school, and how much this worried me. I talked about the different choices I had, and how one that had seemed like a great choice, turned out to be not so good after all. I grieved about how much I wanted to homeschool but couldn’t unless I moved. I cried and cried as my partner just listened.

I hadn’t realised that beneath all that anger was this grief about our school situation. I had been so busy getting on with doing stuff, and caring for my daughter’s needs, that I didn’t have the time to think, ”oh, I’m stressed out and snappy, it must be because I’m sad beneath the surface.”

After that I was in a much better mood.The school situation hadn’t been solved, but I’d let go of some of my feelings.I remembered I wasn’t alone.  I could think more clearly and connect much better with my daughter.

Hand in Hand parenting is a very special kind of parenting approach. It really begins when you seek out the support you need and parent yourself. When you understand and process your own emotions.  Only then can you truly listen to your children’s emotions.

Next time you or your child get angry, remember this, that there’s sadness beneath the surface. When we have the connection we need to release our feelings, we can heal and move on.

Need more help for your own anger? Check out 15 Tips To Stop Shouting At Your Children, and Hand in Hand parenting’s online self-study course Building A LIstening Partnership

Need more help for your angry child? Check out Hand in Hand parenting’s angry child articles

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