Teaching Children About Anger, Part 2

If every person understood from early on – like age three – that he or she was in control of their anger, many of the random acts of hostility we see today would not occur.  We need to teach our children that anger is not some strange, powerful force outside of them and entirely beyond their control. We need to show them how to own their anger rather than blame it on someone else.  There is a power in owning anger.  It means you can calibrate it and control it in terms of duration and intensity.

Think about your own experience as a youngster. Survival and happiness depended upon those over whom you had no power – Mom and Dad.  They simply did not understand your world.

●Were you in the in-crowd or were you an outsider?

●Were you teased because you wore glasses?

●Were you ridiculed because you were overweight?

●Were you always the last person chosen for the kick-ball or baseball team?

●Did you skip the prom because you could not get a date?

●Were you ostracized because you were a lot smarter than your classmates?

●Were your parents financially unable to dress you in the accepted mode-du-jour?

●If you were bullied, did you have the skills to respond appropriately?

●Were you ever compared to others in your group who were smarter or better

looking than you and asked why you could not be more like them?

●Did you suffer from embarrassing acne?

●Were you heckled because you refused to smoke pot and/or drink?

●Were you goaded into doing things you knew were wrong just to be an

accepted member of some clique?

If we consider the lack of coping skills most children have for dealing with their anger and frustrations, we begin to understand why some youngsters literally go berserk.  Here are some strategies you can use to assist your children to manage their anger.

Strategy #1

When siblings are fighting, instead of the usual parental shouting that the kids “Stop that nonsense immediately!” many parents encourage their children to have a pillow fight. The pillow fight usually ends in laughter and a conflict-resolving discussion.

Strategy #2

Hang a few punching bags in their garage. One has a female wig on it, the other a moustache and man’s wig. When the children are angry, they are encouraged to go to the garage and have it out with the punching bag as the offending party.

This is a great strategy when the kids’ anger is directed at their parents.  After this unloading of anger process, they are ready to talk to their parents about their problem.

Strategy #3

Have the children make an appointment for a fight – date, time, topic.  The idea is to give the other person time to prepare (In other words, no sneak attacks.)  Both scream their frustration at one another simultaneously; neither one listening to the other.  After this unloading of anger and frustration, insist the children attempt to calmly discuss and resolve their anger-causing problem.

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