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.