As parents, we often seek to appease, appease – even extinguish – the anger of our children. Life is busy, we are going fast. Anger slows us down. It stresses us. But the disruptive quality of anger is exactly what makes it a powerful agent of social change, says Rebecca Traister in her new book, "Good and Mad: The revolutionary power of women's anger. This book is one of two books this fall exploring the intersection of gender and rage. I heard Traister talking at the local library and wondered if my desire for peace at home was eroding my daughters' potential to create peace in the world.
Soraya Chemaly's other book, "Rage Becomes It: The Power of Women's Wrath," reviews in-depth research on our sexist relationship with anger. Chemaly has little difference in how boys and girls live and express their emotions, but the way we react is very different. The girls are rewarded for being pleasant, pleasant and helpful. In preschool, children think that it is normal for boys to be angry, but not girls.
"We are so busy teaching girls to be nice that we forget to teach them that they have the right to be respected," Chemaly told me. And the effects of this carry to adulthood. According to her, research shows that, just like girls and boys, "women and men feel anger in the same way, but men are much more likely to express that anger verbally, while women tend to keep it for themselves. " "We are losing our ability to defend ourselves."
One study found that in 75% of cases of daily discrimination, women thought to answer with assurance, but they actually say something less than 40 percent of the time. The # MeToo movement is determined to change that in the world.
I am determined to change this at home, with my daughters aged 6 and 11. Here is my six point plan.
Share the positive power of anger
"Girls learn early that anger can break relationships and that the most important thing in their lives is relationships and relationships," says Chemaly. But Traister and Chemaly say that anger actually has incredible potential for deepening relationships.
"It can bring people together and make them audible and visible to each other," says Traister.
"Saying" I'm angry "is a necessary first step to" listen. "" Believe me. "" Trust me. "I know." It's time to do something, "writes Chemaly in" Rage Becomes. "
"When a girl or a woman is angry, she says," What I feel, what I think and what I say counts, it counts, "says Chemaly. "If you're in a relationship where you can not say," Hey, that's important to me, "what's the point?
Listen to your daughter
Parents must honor the feelings of girls, including anger. "Anger is an uncomfortable emotion," says Katie Hurley, a psychotherapist for children and adolescents in El Segundo, California, and author of "No More Mean Girls," "It's Triggering Us." Your instinct [as a parent] it's: "I do not want to feel that now, I have to stop it."
Catherine Steiner-Adair, expert in girls' development and author of "The Big Disconnect", recommends being open to your daughter's anger and not taking it personally. According to Steiner-Adair, anger can be very physical and overwhelming for children in grades four to eleven. "They say bad things, like," I hate you. " You are the worst mother in the world. "You have to overcome that and help them get to a place of self-regulation," she says. My daughter knows that you see her anger and want to know why she is angry. (Later, when you are both calm, you will be able to share your feelings about what has been said or done.)
Give him a frame to express it
Steiner-Adair helps women and girls learn to express their anger effectively using these five steps.
1. State your commitment to your relationship with the person you are angry with. With a primary school friend, it could be: "You and I are in grade four now, we are going to school for a long time and I really want to work together well."
2. Use an "I" that says how you feel: "I was pissed off, I was confused, I was angry when you did X, Y, and Z."
3. Ask if anything you have done could have contributed to the situation.
4. Indicate what you need to move forward. "Here's what I need, want or hope to move on."
5. Ask if there is something the other person needs, wants or hopes for you.
"Girls who really suffer have children in their lives who work with them from an early age," says Lyn Mikel Brown, professor of education at Colby College in Maine and the author of "Powered By Girl."
When Chemaly's children were small, she often staged scenarios in which a person was "nasty, threatening, or rude." Then she explained to them "what it is like to be angry without being mean, cruel or humiliating". . "
Do not forget that their self-confidence may diminish over time. "Girls tend to lose confidence in themselves and lose their skills to solve the problems of broken relationships at the end of primary school," says Steiner-Adair. It is at this point that they can become prey to the stereotypes of the "average girl".
Help her break stereotypes
"At a young age, saying what you think or feeling strong feelings mingles with the" little girl, "" bitch, "says Mikel Brown." Not because girls are inherently bitchy or mean – is a cultural myth, but because it teaches girls to behave in a bitchy way, "says Steiner-Adair." Boys are taught to take themselves for themselves and say, "Hey, what are you doing? Is happening? "Girls get a very confused message: if you face someone directly, it's not good, so girls have the right to tell everyone other than the girl they're with. angry. "
Steiner-Adair recommends talking to your daughter about messages that popular media sends them. She used to watch "DeGrassi High" with her daughters, and then talk to them about "the misogynistic line through replicas when female protagonists express their anger and the way they react."
Express your own anger directly
"To help girls identify what is upsetting them, we should not be afraid to stand in front of them and set an example," says Brown. It could be as simple as telling your child, "That's the kind of thing I find upsetting. It's unfair and we should do something about it. Or, it could be as hard as telling your best friend that they hurt you, instead of just letting you go to your partner during dinner.
Of course, you can not control people's reaction. We all sail in the same cultural waters and make changes often means swimming against the current. But here too lies a powerful message. "Keep trying – even if other people are not yet ready to accept your point of view," says Hurley. "Because if you give up, it's one less person in the world who is learning to express his emotions."
Kate Rope is a mother and the author of "Strong as a mother: how to stay happy, healthy and (above all) healthy mind from pregnancy to parenthood. "Find her on Twitter @katerope.
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