DEAR ABBY: I am a 23-year-old woman, and I know I should have a lot more patience than I do right now. I'm happily married with two beautiful children. After work when I return home, I'm fine for the first hour or so. But if my children start to get loud or keep asking me to do something, I get extremely aggravated.
My children are young and I love them, but I should be in more control of my temper toward them. I feel so bad when I lose it and shout at them. What can I do to improve this? -- SHORT FUSE IN GEORGIA
DEAR SHORT FUSE: I'm glad you asked, because it is important that you learn to relieve your frustration without taking it out on your children. There are healthy ways of managing frustration without exploding.
The first is to recognize that you are becoming upset. Leave the room and, if your husband is home, go for a walk or a short run to help you to regain your perspective. Another technique is to "stall" before reacting. Pause for a moment and say a prayer, "Please Lord, don't let me lose my temper!" before opening your mouth. My booklet, "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With it," contains a number of healthy ways of dealing with frustration and other negative emotions. It can be ordered by sending your name and mailing address, plus a check or money order for $7 in U.S. funds, to Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. I hope it will be helpful to you. It's important that you get a handle on your temper so your children won't grow up thinking that verbal abuse is a normal way to handle their own emotions.
DEAR ABBY: My 25-year-old daughter suffers from Peter Pan Syndrome. Three years out of college, she wants to live an "extended dorm" lifestyle with other young men/women (and their girlfriends/boyfriends), instead of settling down and moving out with her boyfriend of two years.
She says she has "a high need for affiliation" (she needs a lot of people around 24/7). But she also has a high need for change/variety and rotates roommates every two to three years. Looking for a "mini commune" in a crowded city like San Francisco is very difficult. What makes matters worse is that she also has hobbies like sewing that require a lot of space.
Is there something wrong with this lifestyle preference? And if so, how do I help her break out of it? -- WORRIED DAD IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DAD: At 25, your daughter is an adult. Many people her age live communally because it's less costly than living independently, and San Francisco has become so expensive that it's often their only option.
If she's already living in an "extended dorm" situation, it's her life to live and she'll learn lessons. If you feel compelled to offer her advice, suggest they relocate to a less expensive and crowded area, which may entail a longer commute, but with fewer roommates she will have more room for her hobbies.
** ** **