Note to Readers: Teaching children ways of reducing anger in a healthy manner is challenging for most parents. Children that do not learn to manage anger can suffer from emotional, physical and social consequences. I feel it is our duty as parents to give our children anger management skills. Jill Hope gives us a calm and balanced approach to managing anger. Please enjoy!
Being in a state of gratitude is one of the fastest ways to move from a place of fear, anger, or insecurity, to a place of acceptance and peace.
But how can we help our kids move into a state of gratitude when they are at the peak of their anger? And how do we avoid falling prey to their negative, angry energy in the process?
Here are four simple steps I have been using successfully with my son to shift him from his angry state to a state where he can more easily deal with problems and effortlessly identify solutions:
1) Talk to your child about the problem. Let him express it in his own words. It is important to let your child feel his feelings and not to suppress them. Let him feel his feelings fully. Ask him how he has chosen to feel about the situation. This helps him to get in touch with his feelings. And by using the word “chosen” when speaking about his feelings, you teach him that regardless of what happens on the outside, he is responsible for choosing his own feelings.
2) Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Say something like, “I understand why you might choose to feel this way (again, using the word “choose”). Sometimes we choose to feel sad when things like this happen.” By acknowledging your child’s feelings, she feels understood, and this helps her to release the angry emotions.
3) Once your child’s feelings are understood and heard, move your child from the negative to the positive. Ask your child, “If you didn’t have this going on in your life right now, what are 3 things that make you really happy?”
(When I follow this approach with my son, he initially takes some cajoling to think of the first happy thing. But by the time I have gotten 3 responses out of him, he is usually much calmer, and doesn’t seem as bothered by the initial issue.)
4) Help your child to determine a solution. Once your child becomes calmer, ask her how she would like to handle the situation; what she thinks she should do.
When I ask this question of my son when he is in a calmer, more receptive state, he almost always blows me away with an answer well beyond his years.
Most recently, my son was feeling sad because he felt like he was neglecting many of his toys and spending too much time with his video games. Once he calmed down, I asked him what he thought he should do about it. His response was “Have a screen-free week”!!
Now, if I had come up with that response, I doubt it would have been well received! But he was owning his feelings and deciding what he had to do to resolve them.
The next time you or your child has a concern or problem, try to shift from focusing on what’s going wrong to remembering what’s going right by trying these four simple steps. © 2008 – 2010 Jill Hope
Jill is an international parent coach and the creator of the Enlightened Parent, Empowered Kids CD Series. This collection includes interviews with:
Maggie Dent, an author, parenting and resilience educator, and owner of Esteem Plus: Counseling, Training, and Education.
Debbie Milam, Founder of the charitable organization, The Best You Can Be Foundation
Molly Barker, Founder of the organization Girls on the Run
Amanda van der Gulik, Mompreneur and owner of two prosperity consciousness websites
Azim Khamisa, Social Activist and Founder of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation,
Angry Octopus is available in paperback, or on the Indigo Ocean Dreams CD.
New Lesson Plansare also available to help parents and teachers deliver anger management to children.