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Conflict is inevitable in every family. How we as parents manage conflict and getting angry is very important in our relationship with our children. Children learn from and respect parents who handle conflict and anger effectively. They also respect parents who are able to apologize.


What not to do:

  • Do not blame the child, generalize, name call or yell.

  • Avoid explosive anger and the cold shoulder.

When we express anger unproductively there are unwelcome side effects: The child does not focus on the behavior to be changed. The child becomes angry. The child becomes more distant from the parent. The parent stays angry. Family bonds are weakened.


What to do:

  • Notice the signs in our body when we are starting to get frustrated and angry.

  • Give yourself a moment or two to breathe and calm down.

  • Once we are under control we can express our anger constructively.

  • Say how you feel. 

"I am feeling angry."

"I am angry because you left the dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher."

"The reason that I feel angry about that is that I have just gotten home from work and I want to start making dinner."

  • Take a breath and give your child a chance to propose how they would resolve the situation.

  • Ask them, "What can we do to solve this?"


  1. Practice  talking through something that comes up in your family that makes you angry and causes conflict. How can you communicate this more effectively?

  2. Where do you feel anger and upset in your body (e.g. tight chest, knot in your stomach, headache)? Pay attention to these signals as a way to recognize and slow down the anger process.

  3. What do you feel like you need to work on to be a more effective parent and leader during family conflict?

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