continued from above....
By the time the
situation has reached the point where students are kicking the teacher - as we've heard from several of you - it'll be
very challenging to turn the
you may wonder, how can a teacher be expected to stay in charge of increasingly out-of-control students?
for those of us who've worked in both mainstream and specialized settings, we know that the level of behavior at the typical
day treatment center, residential treatment center or juvenile hall, is usually far superior to that in the mainstream even
though the child served in the specialized setting, is usually much more troubled, out-of-control and uncooperative than their mainstream counterpart.
That observation may
indicate that at least some of your success managing a group depends not on the difficulty of the youth,
but the skill and will of the adult.
If you feel afraid or concerned about managing your class or group, that fear or concern, however small, can be like a flashing neon light to some of your
students. That tiny telltale bit of fear or uncertainty can signal "party time" to your most misbehaved youth and children, who will mine and exploit any shred of doubt or anxiety that you harbor.
We can't teach
you how to not be scared of your students, but it'll be critical that you somehow accomplish that, because all the anger control and violence prevention strategies in the world won't compensate
for your lack of certainty that you can properly control and manage your young people.
However, it can certainly help to educate yourself to understand the different types of children who can be violent or have anger control problems.
If you also learn how to use different types of techniques with different types of youth,
you can increase your confidence, in part, because you're now using more effective tools tailored to fit the different types of students you serve.
Hopefully, if you didn't already have the basics on how you must
use a special set of tools with extremely misbehaved youth, you have learned some of that key information from this book when
you read some of the preceding articles.
You should have read about how very critical it is to use different strategies with
these seriously acting-out youth and children. Those articles warned that without specialized approaches, you'll continue
to find that conventional methods regularly fail.
If you don't recognize the term "conduct disorder,"
you may wish to re-visit some of the preceding articles or click over to our site (http://www.youthchg.com/hottopic.html) right now and get at least a portion of those basics.
It shouldn't have to be said,
but here we go: Maintaining control over your group is just about the most important
thing you need to do each day. You don't have to be at all dictatorial but your group needs to know and feel that you're going to keep things "safe and okay," to quote one student.
If your class members have been physically or verbally aggressive to you, or defied you on key matters, then stop all else
that you do until you re-gain control. Re-gaining control is always much harder than starting off strong from the
start, so it will not be easy.
Expect to be tested even
worse than you have been already until your acting-out students determine that you will not relinquish control. But the message I hope comes through is that you'll not be able to teach, counsel, foster parent, supervise, coach or do whatever your job is, until
you establish control - so you might as
well do what it takes starting right now.
Here are some unusual techniques
that can help with the anger
problems that you're seeing. Note that you must also have and use
violence prevention / management techniques too, but we'll focus on just anger interventions in this issue.
Methods for violence - including teaching respect, peer interaction, compliance, attitude
and motivation - will be equally important to have and use.
control problems aren't chance
occurrences. Students don't "get angry"
like they "get a virus." Too often, it takes a frightening event to trigger action, but the time to address anger problems is long before they happen
at a frightening level.
in your setting requires an on-going, systematic effort that teaches skills and also powerfully shapes and maintains
the motivations and attitudes that a student needs to be in control.
Here's some anger control methods to try:
I Could control Myself - If I Wanted: When a student says that
she or he doesn't need to improve their temper control now, that they'll just do it later in their "real job,"
or when they're grown, ask the student how they'll get the skills.
When the student says they'll just be able to do it, ask the student to show that ability now. Most students perform poorly.
Next, ask the student: What will be any different in their "real job" or when they're grown?
Ask the student who will be
left to assist him or her to gain anger control skills if they don't learn it from your site soon.
Answer: The police, court & corrections systems.
I'll Just Deal Drugs: When a student says that he or she will just be able to deal drugs & avoid needing anger control, ask the student how effectively they can deal drugs once
they've harassed, assaulted or abused their supplier & clients.
In the Work World: Relate
the anger control problems to students' goals. Use some of our popular multiple choice quizzes, with questions
like this one from our Temper & Tantrum Tamer book:
Kwan Lee tantrums when mad. She wants to be a hair dresser. She'll discover that
when she screams & turns red with rage,
don't even notice
b) Customers walk out really fast
will come from all over the region to have their hair cut & styled by the tantrumming hair dresser.
Stop & Think: Construct a red stop sign & mount it on a ruler, but
instead of just having the word "Stop" on the sign, put "Stop & Think."
Drill students on managing their reactions to anger-provoking situations by role-playing the situations. Use the "Stop & Think" sign to freeze the action so you can cue the student on behaviors
to use or avoid.
Find Work with a Temper Like That: Ask your students to name all
the jobs & businesses they can do & blow up whenever they want. (There are none.)
Ask the students to play "Jocks in Jail" & consider what has happened to athletes like Mike Tyson &
others who thought they could act however they wanted when angry. Review the fate of coaches like Bobby Knight
to determine if regular outbursts lead to sustained employment.
If you like these methods, be sure to see our
one-of-a-kind instant downloadable handouts & ebooks. They're all packed with truly unique, tested ways to transform your
angry & aggressive students. Visit us at http://www.youthchg.com.
Dealing With Anger
& Children Richard Niolon, Ph.D.
Dealing with angry children is the most difficult part of a parent's job. It stirs feelings ranging from exhaustion to nerve wracking aggravation.
Often parents & children
get locked into a contest of wills & the parent wins with a "Because I Said So" argument. Afterward, they doubt themselves as parents & feel guilty, ashamed & inept.
Many of us were taught as
children that we weren't allowed to be angry, that being angry
was bad, or that it was our fault if we were angry.
These kinds of mistaken beliefs from our own childhood make it more difficult for us to handle anger in children.
the first step toward better management of children's anger
is to set aside what we were taught & instead teach something new.
Teach children that
anger is normal, that it's ok to get angry. The task then
becomes how to manage anger & channel it toward productive or at least acceptable outlets.
Parents & teachers
must remember that just as there are many things in our adult lives that make us angry (i.e., being cut off in traffic, losing something important, or being frustrated by our computers).
at these types of events is normal. Likewise, there are many things in children's lives that make them angry & their reactions are normal. Adults must allow children to feel
all of their feelings & model acceptable ways to manage them.
To understand why a child becomes more angry than other children takes some time and effort.
What triggered the outburst?
The thing to realize is that our anger is generally a reaction to frustration. In children, however, anger appears to be a more generic emotion.
It can be triggered by:
Children often respond with
anger to these types of situations because they feel helpless to understand the situation fully and& helpless to change it. In a way, their anger is a response to frustration as well.
that is especially defiant may be behaving this way to counteract dependency and fears of loss.
who feels hurt by a loss may become angry as a way to avoid feeling sad and powerless.
Sometimes a child's anger prompts an adult to set rules more clearly, explain matters more thoroughly, or make changes in the child's environment.
words, a child may have learned that anger is an all-purpose red flag to let
others know that something is very wrong.
to remember that anger isn't the same thing as aggression.
Anger is a feeling, while aggression is a class of behaviors.
Anger is a temporary emotional
state caused by frustration; aggression is often an attempt to hurt a person or to destroy property.
Dealing with a child's anger requires first finding out what they feel. Ask them what's happened, what went wrong, or
why they are feeling what they feel. They may be able to tell you very clearly. On the other hand, they may need your help to label their feelings.
A parent might respond to
a child who hits his brother by asking why he hit him. Go beyond the "he did this first" argument and ask where they learned
to hit to tell other people to stop doing something. Maybe other kids at school hit, and the child is learning to do the same.
Copied from the web.
Explain that anger is OK (i.e.,
"I know how you feel, it makes me mad when other people borrow my thing and don't ask too").
However, explain that aggression (hitting his brother) is not ok. Offer other ways to express his anger. A parent might say something like, "Here's what I do when I get mad."
Don't just tell your child
what not to do; tell them what they should do too. "Don't hit your brother when you're mad. Tell me about what happened, or tell him to give your toys back, or warn him
you'll tell me."
Some parents want to punish
anger because they don't like aggression. Contrary to popular opinion, punishment is not the most effective way to communicate to children what we expect of them. Explaining, modeling, and setting rules is.
Expect that your child will break a rule three or four times. This is how they learn which rules are serious ones, which ones you
will enforce, and which ones can be broken under certain circumstances. Breaking rules often isn't done in anger, but is a way of learning.
8 Tips for Angry Children
Comment on your child's behavior when it's good.
Something like, "I like the way you handled your brother when
he took your stuff." An observant and involved parent can find dozens of things they like about their child's behavior..."I
like the way you come in for dinner without being reminded"; "I appreciate your hanging up your clothes even though you were
in a hurry to get out to play"; "You were really patient while I was on the phone"; "I'm glad you shared your snack with your
sister"; "I like the way you're able to think of others"; and "Thank you for telling the truth about what really happened."
Teachers can do the same, offering, "I know it was difficult
for you to wait your turn, and I'm pleased that you could do it"; "Thanks for sitting in your seat quietly"; "You were thoughtful
in offering to help Johnny with his spelling"; "You worked hard on that project, and I admire your effort."
Ignore inappropriate behavior that you can tolerate. Nagging
you while you're on the phone can be dealt with by praising what you liked ("Thank you for waiting while I was talking on
the phone. I'm off the phone now, so what's up?") and ignoring what you don't like (ignoring a child's requests while you
are on the phone). You may be thinking, "You don't know what they do then. Then they yell louder and you have to answer them
just to have some quiet." When you respond this way, you reinforce them for yelling. Yelling gets your attention, so next
time they will yell louder to make sure you respond.
Say "NO!" as needed. Limits should be explained clearly and
enforced consistently. Don't say "no" all the time though. Be sure to say yes when it is appropriate and point out why that
moment is appropriate. Copied from the web.
2) Provide physical outlets & exercise, both at home & at school. We may kick a trash can, cut wood, or do something that lets us slam things around (like clean the kitchen).
Kids need physical activity to let off steam too. Keep in mind that you can allow this without risking your safety or the
child's. Let them stomp and kick a trash can in their room, but not in the living room.
in mind that hugs can often make strong emotions less difficult for a child. You don't hug to make the anger go away though;
hug to let the child know you understand their anger and that you take it seriously.
to be continued.....
A Letter to Parents of Children with Problems of Anger
Lynne Namka, Ed. D. © 2001
I'm getting so many letters
from baffled parents with angry children. Some of the parents have a background of abuse
from childhood. Others have a child with an anger prone temperament.
children have a history of sexual abuse the parents may not know about. Some children have
a combination of these 3 factors. If your child has a change in behavior for the worse, ask him or her if someone has touched
their private parts or has hurt them in any way.
I call these kids who are different
from your ordinary type of discipline kids the Industrial Strength Kids. They require Industrial Strength Parenting. Even
more than the ordinary garden variety type of child, Industrial Strength Kids need to learn the skills talking about feelings
instead of acting them out, containing their anger, handling criticism & being able
to see things from other peoples' eyes.
So after you read this letter,
sit down with your (older) child & read the parts of it to him or her that could be understood. Then work together in
making a plan to address the various aspects of what I describe.
Children who talk about their feelings
decrease their anger. As they grow up, they are less likely to turn to alcohol or drugs
or join gangs. One of the MOST IMPORTANT skills for children with anger to learn is to talk
about their feelings instead of acting them out in anger outbursts. Children who talk out
their hurts & disappointments have an outlet for their stress.
Some other skills that can
be taught & reinforced are taking turns, listening to others, inhibiting behaviors that threaten others, following directions,
stopping sarcasm & egging others on.
Some of the higher level skills
are resolving conflict, listening with empathy when pain & hurt are described, giving support & encouragement &
creative problem solving.
Social skills are easy to teach. Children can learn the positive values of treating each other with respect & taking responsibility
for their own behavior.
The steps to teaching social
skills are similar to teaching academic subjects except that play & group activities & discussion plays a stronger
- Identify the skill that needs to be learned.
- Introduce the skill through discussion & modeling of the
- Give the rule & alternatives to the rule.
- Cue the child what to say & do regarding the new skill.
- Have the child cue himself thru self talk.
- Provide practice of the skill thru modeling, games, puppet
& doll play & role playing.
- Reinforce the new skill during practice.
- Teach the child to reinforce himself using self talk for using
the skill. (Feel good about using the skill!)
- Provide opportunities for generalization & reinforcement
of the skill in daily play.
You can get a list of specific
skills for anger management on my web page called Positive Anger Skills listed under FOR GROWNUPS.
Social skills training gives children a bigger bag of tricks from which to choose. Children can learn techniques to deal with threat &
their anger. The habitually angry child can change his
perceptual distortions of seeing hostility & threat when there is none.
He can learn to master the skills
of stating feelings & staying centered during other people's outbursts of anger & refrain from lashing out at others.
Focusing on choices will give him the time to move into logical problem solving. Self-angering thoughts can be challenged
& interrupted to inhibit impulsive behavior.
Social competence requires
that we learn to feel our emotions, talk about them & make responsible behavior choices that are respectful of others
& ourselves. When children learn to feel & talk their feelings, then they can learn to trust others.
If you aren't a natural teacher
for your own children, find someone who can help them learn necessary social skills of anger management such as a counselor
or a college student majoring in eduction or psychology. My
curriculums give all activities to teach anger management skills.
problems in children need to be nipped in the bud so you don't have tremendous problems during the teen years. You're
going to need some help. I strongly recommend that parents take parenting class in the early years & one later on when
their oldest child turns 12 (there are a whole set of skills in raising a teen anger!)
You can find out about classes
by calling your local mental health center or local school counselor. Or look in the paper. You'll get tremendous support
from other parents who are having the same problems you are.
You'll feel so much better about yourself as a
Keep violent TV & movies to a minimum. Children who watch The Simpsons and South Park
will model disrespectful behavior.
Channel your child into one of the martial arts which teaches self discipline and respect for others.
Keep up with the latest trends in anger management. Being the parent
of an angry child is a year by year challenge. Sometimes day by day.
Teach your children these lessons which emphasize respect and responsibility and live them yourself. If you're an angry person yourself, your child will act as you
You'll have to address your own anger if you expect your child to change.
Twelve Hugs a Day
for all Family Members.
You may substitute
touches, smiles, compliments and affectionate gestures for the these hugs, but get a balance between these 4 categories of positive expression.
Give 12 positive strokes after a blow out with someone you care about to do damage repair on the relationship. Making up after an argument is a necessary skill to keep a relationship thriving.
Model Good Use of Your
Address your own anger when it comes up. Learn safe, appropriate ways to handle it. Talk your angry feelings out loud in your child' presence.
Model your getting angry and then taking
a Time Out to cool down by announcing to your child what you're doing. Emphasize that your family is becoming a Talk Your
'Mean What You Say &
Say What You Mean.' said Lucy of the Peanuts cartoon. When you make a commitment, keep it. When you say only what you will follow thru on, your children will learn that you mean business.
If you say
it, do it. Move your body not your mouth for discipline and insist that your child minds by your following thru. If
you aren't going to follow thru forget about saying it.
Respect Who You Are, Don't Emphasize on What You Do. Balance effort, success and a sense of being who you are. Yes, effort
is necessary to succeed in life. But children need to know that they're more than their latest performance.
If self esteem is only tied to effort (I'm valuable due to my achievement) , the
child is only as good as his latest project. He'll learn to devalue his values and his own self and place too much emphasis on projects. Teach the balance between 'To be.' and 'To Do.'
Learn from Your Mistakes.
Errors are for learning, not for beating yourself up. Learn to problem solve after failing and you will have a sure-fire formula
Self esteem grows when mistakes are used to examine your life and do it different next time. Stretch and grow from your mistakes and
you'll have a sure-fire formula for success. You're as mature as you're able to own your errors and get a plan to correct
No whining. No excuses. Take responsibility for your goof ups. Taking responsibility is real power, personal power. That is
Expect To Get Favors in Life. Do Expect That You Will Have To Work Hard For What You Get. Work hard & good experiences will come your way. Entitlement
as a way of expecting the world to take care of you rarely works. Expecting to get your way all the time will turn you into
a miserable person.
Follow Your Dreams.
You May Not Always Get Them But the Journey Will Take You To Some Exciting Places. You'll discover new dreams along the way
to enrich your life.
us alive. They won't all work out, but they can give positive energy to enhance daily living.
To Your Inner Voice. You can develop a deep sense of wisdom within you, by listening to your conscience and
your Higher Power. There's a part of you that knows what the right thing is to do in any given situation. Listen to it and
you'll become a person of integrity.
Use The One Minute Praising &
Use these two positive discipline ideas from The One Minute Mother & The One Minute Father by Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer
Johnson. Get one of these books for your reference library!
Praise Your Child Immediately.
Catch Your Child Being Good & Tell His World About It!
- Tell him what he did right.
Be very specific.
- Tell him how you feel about
what he did and how it effects the family in a positive way. ( I feel pleased, elated, great, etc. that you get your homework done all on your
own. You do your job just like I do mine & that's what families are about. We support each other & let each other
know about a job well done.)
- Stop and pause for a minute
to let your child feel how good you feel.
- Encourage him to do more
of the same good efforts.
- Shake hands, give a high
five, shoulder pat or hug.
- Lynne s version: I'd add:
Teach your child to praise himself. "Tell yourself to pat yourself on the back. Tell yourself 'Good job!' Notice how good
you feel when you get your work done." If your child learns to internalize the positive parent voice when he does something well, he will not be dependent on outside praise.
To Put Limits On Your Anger Outbreaks Use The One Minute Reprimand
- Tell your child beforehand
that you're going to let him know in no uncertain terms how he is doing.
- Reprimand your child immediately.
Tell him specifically what he did wrong in ONE SENTENCE!
- Tell him how disappointed, upset, sad, frustrated, angry (choose one emotion only)
- Stop and let it sink in.
Allow a half moment of uncomfortable silence where he gets how you feel.
- Shake hands, or touch him
in a way that lets him know that you're on his side despite your upset feelings.
- Remind him how much you value him, what a cool person he is, etc.
- Reaffirm that you think well of him, but not his performance. (You're a great kid who messed up!)
- Remind him that you realize
he will make a better choice next time.
- Let it go. No lectures. No
more. Just stop. Realize when the reprimand is over, it's over.
- Leave with you believing in him and his ability to make good choices next time. (Smiling, not moralizing.)
Recommended Books About
- The Mad Family Gets Their Mads Out (my book) $12.50 ppd. from
Talk, Trust & Feel, 1120 Buchanan Ave., Charleston, IL 61920. This book teaches children how to express their feelings.
View at http://members.aol.com/AngriesOut/catalog/p10.htm
- The Challenging Child, by Stan Greenspan
- Parenting The Strong Willed Child by Rex Forehand
- The Strong Willed Child by James Dobson.
- PURRFECT Parenting by Beverly Guhl & Don Fontenelle
The Indigo Children
by Lee Carroll & Jan Tober www.indigochild.com has some intriguing ideas for working with the type of child who
marches to his own drum & thinks differently. They require a different type of discipline & education.
makes the point that today' children are so instilled in technology that they think differently than the generations that
came before. The constant use of computers from an early age has changed them into left brain thinkers with their right brains
Indigo Children come into
the world with a sense of royalty and a feeling of deserving to be here. They have good sense of self, but question unjust
authority. They get frustrated with ritualized systems that are designed to meet the needs of others.
They don't respond to
discipline techniques which involve guilt and force. They require reasoning and being given a chance to work out
their own solutions to misbehavior. Some have a high level of energy.
bright and often have better, higher level ideas to work out problems. They challenge ridiculous adult
behavior. These children need discipline techniques which emphasize respect and responsibility.
For ideas on parenting the Indigo Child, explore these books:
- Back in Control--How to Get Your Children to Behave by Gregory
- Parenting with Love & Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay
- Rasing Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinda
- The Life That You Were Born to Live by Dan Millman
- Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell,
- Helping Your Hyperactive ADD Child by John Taylor
- The A. D. D. Book by William Spears & Lynda Thompson
Learn about anger
management for your own life. If you have a temper, get some help thru therapy or an anger
management class. Children absorb what they see and hear. Model appropriate use of anger
for your child.
Read my web pages on Children of Entitlement & the Right Man/Woman Theory. Read my articles listed under
Why Did Johnny Kill? School Violence Explained -- A Report for Educators & Reporters.
Make a copy of this report
to give to your child's principal, teacher or guidance counselor.
Keep reading my pages on anger management until it really sinks in. Keep going back to the web site as I'll be adding
Peace & blessings to your family,
The Top 10 Tips for Managing Anger,
Conflict & Emotional Tension - by Dr. Clare Albright, Psychologist & Professional Coach
To be a safe and predictable person for those around you at work & at home, it's essential that you're able to maintain
your composure when you feel like your 'buttons' are being pushed.
will help you to achieve your goals in business as well as your goals for your personal relationships.
1. Share negative emotions only in person or on the phone. E-mails, answering machine messages & notes are too impersonal for the delicate nature
of negative words. What feels like a bomb on paper may feel like a feather when delivered in person.
Pepper your responses with the phrase, "I understand". This phrase will support your goals when the tension is high & you need to find common ground to form compromises or agreements with the other party.
Take notice when you feel threatened by what someone is saying to you. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or to "shut down" the other person's communication. It'll take this kind of discipline to become an open, trusting communicator.
Practice making requests of others when you're angry. It's often much more useful to make
a request than to share your anger. i.e., if the babysitter is driving you crazy by leaving
dirty dishes in the sink, it's better to make a request of them than to let your anger leak
out in other ways such as by becoming more distant.
5. Try repeating the exact words that someone is saying to you when they're in
a lot of emotional pain or when you disagree with them completely. This mirroring technique can keep both the speaker &
the listener 'centered' in a difficult conversation, especially when the attitude of the person doing the mirroring is to
gain understanding of a different point of view.
6. Take responsibility for your feelings to avoid
blaming others. Notice when 'blameshifting' begins to leak into your speech. "I feel angry
when you're 20 minutes late & you don't call me" is much better than, "You make me so mad
by being late."
7. Learn to listen to the two sides of the conflict that you're in as if you were the mediator or the counselor. If you can listen and respond in
this way you'll bring peace and solutions to the conflict more quickly. i.e., in response to an employee's raise request, you might say,
one hand I understand that you really need the raise and on the other hand I represent the company, whose funds are very scarce at this time. Is there a way that I
can work on your compensation package that doesn't involve cash?" Here, the mediator's point of view can look for the creative
compromise that takes into account the limits and the needs of both parties.
8. Take a playful attitude towards developing the skill of emotional self-control in high conflict situations. You could view maintaining self-control in a tense, angry converstion as an athletic feat. You could also view developing this
skill as similar to working out at the gym with weights - the more that you use your self-control muscle the bigger it'll grow and the easier it will be to remain calm when tension is great.
9. Wait a few days to cool down emotionally when a situation
makes you feel wild with intense feelings, such as rage. As time passes, you'll be able to be more objective about the issues and to sort out the truth about the situation more clearly.
10. Make a decision to speak with decorum whenever
you're angry or frustrated. If you give yourself permission to blow up, people will not feel safe around you.
feel that you aren't predictable and will carry 'shields' when they're near you. The fear and walls of others will not support your goals for success in relationships or at work.
Positive Anger Skills: Be A Gentle, Loving Person Even When You're Mad
Lynne Namka, Ed. D. © 1997
How would you like to keep
your calm even when you're angry? Interested? Analyze your own skill level with dealing with uncomfortable feelings. Much of how we react when angry is learned behavior. You can unlearn old nasty behaviors
& learn new positive anger skills.
feelings & behaviors are very, very complex. They can be broken down into many sub skills that you can practice
daily. The more skill you have to deal with your mad feelings, the better equipped you'll be to live in our chaotic world.
Take the following quiz to
find out how many positive anger skills you use regularly. Practice the skills you don't
have until they become part of your daily repertoire.
To Release Current & Old Anger in Effective Ways
___ To displace anger symbolically
when it isn't safe to express it directly.
___ To use positive displacement of anger and refrain from negative displacement.
___ To break into self-angering
To Learn Assertive Ways of Dealing with Threat
___ To shield against the
negative energy of name calling and ridicule.
___ To take care of self when others fight. (It's not my problem. It's a grownup problem.)
o break into dissociative states of fear
and numbing out.
___ To use techniques of self soothing when upset.
To Learn to Contain Excessive Anger
___ To learn to discriminate
between big and little deals. (Don't sweat the small stuff.)
o realize and accept
that you don't always get what you want. (Break into entitlement
___ To learn to analyze and correct mistakes instead of beating yourself up.
___ To keep cool when others are trying to push your buttons.
___ To take Time Out when overheated during an argument and then return to problem
To Observe Rather than Over React to Threatening Events
o use observation of physiological cues to break into
o analyze the threatening
event and identify and break into triggers.
o bridge current angers
back to old unresolved
o stay present in the threat
of danger rather than lashing out or stuffing anger
o change the self-angering
meanings given to threatening
o make self empowering statements showing resilience
To Channel Anger Into Constructive
___ To identify and name
feelings and use the "I formula" when appropriate
o deal with others who discount feelings
and don't want to listen
o change anger
constructively to MAD--Make A Difference
___ To listen to others when they're upset.
___ To refrain from sarcasm,
name calling, egg-ons and put downs.
___ To see things from the
other person's perspective.
___ To observe the effect
of one's actions upon others and express sorrow for hurting others.
ANGER AND ANGER CONTROL
Anger is a normal reaction
to feeling wronged.
Children need to learn the
difference between the emotion of anger and what is done with that anger.
It's okay to be angry, but not okay to behave destructively out of anger.
Do not chastise your child
for being angry.
If your child acts destructively,
try to respond by saying, "It's okay to be angry. But I don't want you to hit anyone." or
"I don't want you to damage anything, including yourself".
Help your child express anger verbally. Look for clues of unexpressed anger (e.g.,
pouting, sulking, I don't care attitude). Each child will have their own signals.
You may have to ask questions
about why your child is angry to help him/her verbally express his/her anger.
As an adult, evaluate how
you deal with anger. Your behavior serves as model for your child's actions.
HOW TO TEACH YOUR CHILD TO CHANNEL ANGER
Communicate clearly to your child.
Encourage your child to explain and discuss his/her feelings.
Listen to your child's viewpoint.
When your child does not have the skills to confront the source
of his/her anger, encourage your child to display his/her anger toward you. This will reduce stress and help your child focus
on his/her anger in an appropriate way.
Make your child understand that destructive behavior will affect
his/her life (e.g., friends will not want to play with them, they may receive punishment from his/her parents).
Help your child learn to recognize how his/her body reacts when
he/she becomes angry. Talk with your child about how their body feels when he/she is angry. This will help your child recognize
when he/she is angry so that an appropriate expresion of anger can be used rather than acting in anger.
CHOICES FOR THE EXPRESSION OF ANGER
Draw an angry picture. Suggest that your child sit down with
crayon and paper and draw a picture of his/her anger. Allow your child to show his/her anger in any fashion. If your child
needs help, suggest that he/she draw a picture of him/herself and the way he/she feels, or a picture of the source of the
anger, or what he/she feels like doing out of anger.
Write a letter that is never sent. Encourage your child to sit
down and write a letter to whomever he/she is angry with. Let him/her write anything he/she wants.
If your child uses bad language when angered, urge him/her to
sit down and write all the bad words he/she wants to use. When he/she is finished, suggest that your child crumple up the
paper and throw it away.
Allow your child to pound on pillows. He/she can vent anger
by pounding on a pillow or other resilient object.
Suggest that your child release anger by using physical exercise
as an outlet (e.g., running all out or throwing a ball against a wall as hard as possible). Or you could urge your child to
go outside and try to push the house over.
Help your child
find some outlet to release their anger. The outlets will have to be appropriate for the situation they are in (e.g., at school,
at home, at a friend's home, at a restaurant, etc.). It's okay to have different ways to express anger in different situations.
Tell how you feel.
Speak up - confront the problem.
Think before acting.
Apologize if you did something wrong or did something accidentally.
Write a letter about how you feel.
Go to an adult for help.
Hit pillows, punching bag, not something that you can hurt or
something that will hurt you.
Run around the block.
Yell loudly outside.
Hit other people or animals.
Keep your feelings to yourself.
Get angry at yourself when someone else is responsible for your
Yell at someone.
Call people names.
Break your toys, other kids' toys or possessions, or your parents'
WAYS TO TEACH YOUR CHILD TO DEAL
DEALING WITH YOUR ANGER
1. Stop and count to 10 in order to cool off and allow yourself
time to think.
2. Think about your choices.
a. Tell the person in words why you are angry.
b. Walk away for now.
c. Do a relaxation exercise.
3. Act out your best choice. If one choice doesn't work, try
DEALING WITH ANOTHER'S ANGER
1. Listen to what the person has to say. Do not interrupt or
become defensive. If you need to, tell yourself, "I can stay calm."
2. Think about your choices.
a. Keep listening.
b. Ask why he/she is angry.
c. Give him/her an idea to fix the problem.
d. Walk away for now if you are becoming angry in order to calm
3. Act out your best choice. If one choice doesn't work, try
WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS
--run, jump rope, pedal a bike, do sit-ups, ride a skateboard, dance, sing, hit a baseball, etc.
SHAKE YOUR TENSION AWAY -- wiggle, jiggle and shake all over
OUT TENSION THE TENSION -- tighten your muscles - start with your toes and tighten your muscles to your head - hold
it- count to 5- then relax your muscles
BREATHE YOUR STRESS AWAY -- lie down in a quiet place, close your eyes, place hands on your ribs - breathe in slowly
through your nose - hold it - count to 5 - breathe out slowly through your mouth - repeat this several times until you feel
USING SELF CONTROL
1. Stop and count to 10. Discuss with your child the importance
of allowing him/herself time to cool off and think.
2. Think of how your body feels. Hands may become sweaty or
clenched. Face or body may feel hot. Stomach may feel tight or upset.
3. Think about your choices.
a. Walk away for now in order to gain control.
b. Do a relaxation exercise.
c. Write about how you feel.
d. Talk to someone about it.
4. Act out your best choice. If one choice doesn't work, the
child should try another choice.
Berry, Joy. (1987). Every Kid's Guide to Decision Making and Problem Solving. Living Skills Press: Sebastopol, CA.
Golant, Mitch and Bob Crane. (1987). Sometimes It's O.K. to be Angry! Tom Doherty Associates, Inc.: New York, NY.
McGinnis, Ellen & Arnold P. Goldstein. (1984). Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child: A Guide for Teaching
Prosocial Skills. Research Press: Champaign, IL.
Moser, Adolph. (1988). Don't Pop Your Cork on Mondays! Landmark Editions, Inc.: Kansas City, MO.
Is Getting Mad Bad?
by Forrest Samnik, LCSW, EFT Cert-I, CCH
I have asked countless number
of children “Is getting mad bad?” Very close to 100% answered yes. This has
made me very curious as to the message we are presenting to children about anger. It has made me wonder how
we adults express our anger and how that affects our children’s perspective that mad is bad.
While talking to children about anger I speak to the important role anger plays in our lives. Anger lets us know that something is wrong. It is a signal that we are hurt, scared, or frustrated, our rights are being violated, or our needs are not being met. I tell them that when anger is
utilized in a productive way, it motivates us to make necessary changes to live more comfortably and safely in this world.
When anger is expressed in destructive ways, it only serves to intensify the feelings of pain, frustration, and fear.
One young man, of middle school age, who was studying
the civil rights movement of the 1960’s made a very astute observation. He pointed out that Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. had a lot of things to be angry about. He said Dr. King and his people were being hurt on multiple levels and that Dr. King got angry enough to do something about it. This young
man was able to recognize that Dr. King harnessed his anger to take a stand, be heard, take
courageous action, and yet never once express his anger in a violent way.
Teaching our children how to properly express and deal with feelings of anger
is a critical and ongoing lesson. Children need to know how to stand up for themselves, speak so people will listen, and take
courageous action when needed without causing undue harm to themselves or others.
number one most important element in teaching our children how to effectively manage anger is
to know how to effectively manage our own anger. Children learn how to deal with anger by imitating the behavior of their caregivers. Children learn my watching, not by listening to what is
Despite our best attempts to be patient, resourceful, and flexible there are
times we get angry with our children. Children pay close attention to our anger and will, in fact, provoke us just to see how we respond. They are actually giving us the perfect opportunity
to teach them that anger is a normal, even healthy emotion, and show them positive ways
to express it and how to move through it successfully.
Pay attention to the emotion
beneath the anger. Anger is normally a response to an uncomfortable emotion. Pain (emotional or physical), fear, or frustration, are the usual culprits driving the anger. Identify these feelings to help you better understand and deal with your anger.
your anger. Children are very sensitive to non-verbal cues and pick up on subtle changes
in voice tone, skin color, and body tension when we are mad. Let them know that this feeling has a name and that it is not too scary to talk about: “I’m feeling very angry and frustrated right now. I lost my keys and am running late to pick your brother up from school, and now you won’t put your shoes
on so we can leave.”
Express anger without
assigning blame. Children will do many things that we will feel frustrated about, but they are not responsible for our anger. When you are feeling angry, do not start a sentence off with “You”. When we say, “You are driving me crazy,”
or “You make me so mad,” we are falsely giving our children the message that
they are in control of our behaviors and emotions. Instead, explain to your children that our feelings of anger are in response to their behavior. Honestly share your feelings, and their connection to them, without blame. “When you climb on the furniture I feel scared and mad.”
Don’t strike your child. Hitting your child only teaches them to fear you and that violence
is an acceptable way to express anger and solve problems. Yelling and name calling can be
as hurtful as physical violence.
Recognize your triggers and early warning signals. Every one
has their own hot buttons. For some parents it may be being ignored, for others it might be being talked back to, or being
ordered around. Become aware of the early warning signs that these triggers produce so you can take action before the intensity
of your feelings get to high. Once you have identified the triggers that spark your anger, set clear limits
with your children around those areas.
It’s never too late to apologize. It’s
a rare parent who hasn’t let their anger get the best of them and have done or said
something they later regret. When the inevitable happens, it’s important to apologize for scaring or hurting your children. “I’m sorry that I scared you when I yelled at you. I got frightened when you climbed on the bookcase.
I don’t want you to do that because it is not safe, but I didn’t mean to scare you.”
When you follow these guidelines for effective anger management, you are modeling
healthy responses for your feelings of anger for your children to observe.
Forrest Samnik, LCSW, EFT Cert-I, CCH is a psychotherapist, EFT Practitioner,
and life coach with a private practice in Palm Harbor, Florida. For questions or comments call LifeWorks Counseling &
Coaching at (727) 781-6567