- Teaching Your Child to Forbear: It is instructive to teach the word “forbear” and link it to “four bears.” Forbear means to hold back/abstain and to control oneself when provoked (merriam-webster.com). Suppressing those inner bears can be learned and accomplished over time. One of my boys was having hard time keeping his temper in check. A solution for him was to pick up his book and read. He had his “forbear” bookmarks at school to remind him. At home a sign hung on the inside of the kitchen door. When his temper crept up I was able to say “forbear” and he could usually suppress it. (Printable Forbear Bookmarks, Forbear 8 ½ x 11 Sign)
- Hero or Bad Guy–Who are you going to be?: The idea is to discuss with your child who they want to be like. Some of their favorite characters or people can be used (a good guy and a bad guy). Allow him/her to commit to act like the good guy. Then a simple reminder from you will help trigger their desire to be good… “Good Jedi or Bad Jedi” or “Nephi or Laman.” (Nephi Picture Link)
- Play my Violin: This idea was taught by my grandma. Her elderly sister moved in with her, and it was hard for my grandma to have patience with her sister. She told me that when she would get frustrated she would stop and pretend to play her violin. It made me smile to watch her “play her violin” and hum a tune. It was helpful to teach our children this story so they can learn to do something like “play a violin” or count to help them control their temper. A mother “pretending” to play a violin in the background of a sibling battle could be a great distraction…and a wonderful reminder.
- Pray with your child: Teach your child to ask Heavenly Father for help in controlling his/her temper. I know that even as an adult I pray for Him to “influence my thoughts, temper my actions, and guide my steps.” I know He helps me. Mastering ourselves and doing the Lord’s will require help.
- Becoming Christ-like: A perusal of the Savior’s life and teachings will help refine anyone willing to do it. An honest discussion of His reaction to different circumstances will leave us all in awe. Planning family lessons to teach about the Savior will help. In my church we believe that when we are baptized we take upon us the name of Christ. To take on His name means to act like Him. In striving to act like Jesus a child can learn bit by bit by bit to master self…just like the Savior. We aren’t perfect like He is, but He can help make up the difference for us.
With these ideas I would suggest a consequence each time your child loses his/her temper. My favorite consequence to enforce is having my kids draw a job from the “Job Jar” (see the post Job Jar).
If controlling your temper is hard for you as the parent, it will be good to say “sorry” and point out when you have done wrong. Kids are quite forgiving. 🙂
The solution for everyone is different. Study your child and pray…Heavenly Father will help you and your child figure out the best course to self-mastery. Good luck!