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Losing temper with your kids?
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, how should I deal with my anger, especially with my kids? I always get annoyed very easily and it bothers me a lot. Kindly help me to get rid of this tendency. Thank you, Acharya Ji.

Acharya Prashant (AP): You see, the kid has stolen a few sweets from a shop. Our old, usual, fat kid who loves sweets. He has stolen a few sweets and now the mother is very angry. The mother is saying, “Why did you steal sweets? Sweets will make you fat!”

It is not that we do not require anger; we require right anger.

“Mama, I have brought something for you as well, rasgulla !” One tight slap, “Don’t you know I love rasmalai ?”

We require right anger. Anger has been decried and presented as avoidable and as a source of a lot of mischief because we do not know ourselves; we do not know what to want; we do not know what to be angry about.

The kid has not obtained marks as per the parents’ expectations, and the kid brings his report card home. And then, mischievously, he firstly hides away the report card for a long time and then fakes the mother’s signature on the report card. And now the parents are angry about his marks. “Why did you not score sufficiently high in your exams?”

Do we even know what to be angry about? And if we know that, then all anger is alright, even auspicious. Do we know what to scold the other about? Do we know what is it that really deserves punishment and what is it that deserves to be ignored or overlooked?

The kid had a fight with the street rowdy and he comes back with his new t-shirt torn. And the parents are angry that the new and expensive t-shirt is no more. Do we know what is it that really merits censor?

To be angry about the rights things, you first of all have to know your own mind rightly. When you know your own mind rightly, then you see that the mind of the child is not fundamentally different from the mind of the adult; then you know that that which the adult must have, the child too must have in a very inward way, in a very deep way; not in a superficial or physical way.

Then you know what to give to the child—what not to give to the child; then you know what to be cautious about; then you know where to let the rope lose; then you also know where to keep things tight.

Often we give tremendous attention to very-very trivial stuff—it becomes very important to us. When it becomes important to us, then it also becomes the center of your anger. “I like to keep my house clean, and the kids just walk all over the rooms with dirty shoes.” And now the kids are getting a hefty scolding. Is the issue serious enough to warrant a strong reprimand?

And when such small things are given a lot of weightage, then that which should have received great consideration gets ignored. Misplaced priorities, appended value systems.

There are a lot of annoying things that any kid would do. Grant that to him or her. There is no need to take that stuff very seriously. In a big way kids are very similar to little animals: you don’t want to impose military discipline on them, do you? Just let them be; it’s their physiology doing the mischief. In those matters don’t try to impose anything.

Kids like to run about, climb up the sofa, do something funny, do something outrageous, it’s okay. But wherever you see the kid’s mind being stained and corrupted, that’s where you should take strong notice and strong objection. Reserve your anger for those occasions. And those occasions are a plenty, believe me.

Be a very easy-going mother. Don’t keep objecting to every small thing. Learn to ignore, they are just kids. But when it comes to the essential purity of the kid’s mind, never let that be compromised.

Find them watching an unsuitable TV channel or website? Block it then and there. Find them insisting on playing a violent video game? Flatly refuse the demand. Not only must you refuse the demand, you must also endeavour to find out from where did the kid learn to be attracted to that kind of a game.

Reserve your energy, so that you can spend it rightly in the upbringing of the kids. And when it comes to kids, some of them are not merely mischievous; they are actively nasty. It is very easy to allow your energy to be randomly spilled all over the house.

One has taken a pencil and scribbled something on the wall, and now you are chasing him all over the place: “he deserves one whack on the back!” Ignore him. Where there is a kid and a pencil and a crayon, rest assured, you will find some kind of graffiti somewhere. No point raising hackles on these things, right?

Know what to sanction, know what to object to, and know what to let pass. Be very, very alert. Being a good mother is not an easy job. It’s a thing of tremendous responsibility. It’s almost like a demanding spiritual practice. You’ll have to be on your toes, conscious, all the time. You will have to be alert to the first and little signals before they become dangerously rooted, right? Reserve your energy for those things.

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