Anger is here to stay

To cope with our own anger, we need to admit openly, and accept graciously, that anger is here to stay. Fifty million American parents cannot be wrong — they all get angry with their children. Our anger has a purpose; it shows our concern. Failure to get angry at certain moments indicates indifference, not love. Those who love cannot avoid anger. This does not mean that our teenagers can withstand torrents of rage and floods of violence. It does mean that they can benefit from anger which says: "Enough is enough. There are limits to my tolerance."

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It is best not to be too patient with our teenagers. When we start feeling irritated inside, but continue to be nice on the outside, we convey hypocrisy — not kindness. Instead of trying to hide our irritation, we can express it effectively. Said one father: "I try not to get angry. I shake inside but I control myself. I'm afraid of my temper. I could really hurt my son if I let go." Such control cannot be kept for long. Anger, like a deep breath, cannot be held indefinitely. Sooner or later, we are bound to explode. When we lose our temper, we become temporarily insane. We become dangerous. We attack and insult. We say and do things to those we love which we would hesitate to inflict on a stranger. When the battle is over, we feel guilty and resolve never to lose our temper. But anger soon strikes again. Once more we lash out at those to whose welfare we have dedicated our life and love.

—Haim Ginott

Jesse McCarthyComment