Teaching Children About Anger – What Would You Do?

Here are a few scenarios for you to think about regarding children how they generate your anger.  Consider how you might handle these situations.  Let me know your ideas.  Next Thursday, I will give you my take on the following four scenarios:

Scenario #1

Your son pestered you for months to get him a dog. When you finally did get him a dog it was with the understanding that he, not you, would be taking care of it. Lately, your son has come up with all kinds of excuses for not being able to walk the dog in the evening.  This week, he forgot to feed the dog three times.  You have a demanding full time job and cannot take on the added responsibility of a dog. Your best strategy for dealing with this is:

●Take the dog to the pound

●Have the vet put the dog down.

●Inform your son that you will not feed him, do his laundry or clean his room until he assumes full responsibility for his dog.

●Tell your son that if he chooses to avoid taking responsibility for the dog, he must also choose to give up the dog.

●Advise your son that you do not intend to look after his dog.

Scenario #2

While cleaning up your daughter’s room, you discover a stash of drugs. You are horrified.  Your daughter is an honor student.  She is also a member of the girls’ basketball team. You are fairly certain you know most of her close friends. As a parent, you have tried to be vigilant without being intrusive.  You wonder what could have happened.  What would you do?

Scenario #3

You are in the fifth year of your second marriage. Your spouse has an older boy from a previous marriage living with you. The boy is a high school drop-out who is currently unemployed. You just learned that his girlfriend is pregnant. You would like to avoid upsetting your spouse but you want that boy out of your house before he decides to bring his girlfriend and their baby home for you to support. What would you do?

Scenario #4

Suppose the problem is not your children but rather someone else’s children who are causing you immense rage and anger.

Your brother lives in Chicago while you and your spouse live in a tiny cottage on the shores of Cape Cod.  Five years ago your brother expressed an interest in visiting you during the summer so his three boys could enjoy the water. You were delighted to have them come.  Now they expect to come every summer for three (terrible) weeks. Your brother’s kids are combative, undisciplined and wild.  Last summer, they left their room with one broken floor lamp, one shattered chest of drawers, one busted table lamp and the cabinet in the bathroom had been pulled out of the wall because the youngest, Paul, had been swinging on it.  All the blankets, sheets and pillows were on the floor along with wet Kleenex balls from a snowball fight.   It took you four hours to get the room straightened out so that someone could make the repairs.

It is now March and there is a message on your answering machine from your sister-in-law.  She wants to discuss the dates for her family’s “annual visit to your quaint little summer cottage”.  Your best strategy for dealing with this is:

  • Send your brother a bill for repairing all the destruction his boys caused; tell him that the bill must be paid before he can visit again.
  • Since this is family, suck it up; make the visiting arrangements for the coming summer.
  • Inform your sister-in-law that you and your spouse are going to tour Central Asia this summer and will not be home.
  • Wipe the call off the answering machine; pretend you never got the call.
  • Return the call. Tell your sister-in-law that you are unable to have them visit this summer because of the condition in which the boys left their room last summer.
  • Tell your sister-in-law she must keep the boys under control if they visit this summer.
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