Dealing with Anger in Healthy Ways
The emotions we feel are natural and for a purpose; they are meant to be felt and understood, not stuffed away or brushed off. This is why it’s particularly important that we validate children’s emotions, as well as teach them how to deal with their feelings in healthy ways.
The key to dealing with emotions is preparation. If we can inform and instruct kids on the topic of emotions, they’ll be better prepared to handle them in a constructive manner.
And Moodkins are the perfect tools to get your conversations about emotions started!
In this post we’ll be looking at the feeling of anger. Specifically, how can we teach kids to handle their anger in ways that do not harm other people or themselves? Read on for a five step process using Mr. Grumps, our red Moodkin.
1. Look at the angry side of Mr. Grumps. Talk about what it feels like to be angry. How does your body feel and what behaviors do you exhibit when you are angry (ie. tense shoulders, clenched teeth, racing heart, restless body, whiny voice)?
2. Discuss situations from the past when your child felt angry. (Remember to speak with an objective and understanding tone of voice so your child feels safe to share.)
3. Discuss some ways your child has dealt with anger that are not healthy or effective (ie. hurting others, tantrums, withdrawing).
4. Talk about the importance of calming down first (ie. take deep breaths, go to a quiet room if possible, count to 10).
5. Brainstorm together and come up with some alternative ways of dealing with anger. Keep in mind your child’s personality and temperament and choose activities that will best meet his or her needs.
Here are some suggestions:
- Ask for help. Come up with a code word or action that will tell a trusted adult you are angry. Talk about why you are angry.
- Make balls out of play dough and smash them with your hands.
- Draw a picture of your anger.
- Get a hug.
- Get active. Run around outside. Ride your bike. Do jumping jacks.
- Turn up the radio and sing along.
- Any other activity that will help lower your child’s level of anger.
The key to dealing with anger is to have a game plan! So help your children come up with one today. Equip them and allow them opportunities to practice implementing their plan, to fail at times, but to always keep trying. With your encouragement, your child will learn how to better manage his or her feelings of anger and Mr. Grumps will eventually have someone to share his smile with. 🙂
NOTE: If your child’s anger persists or becomes severe to the point where it interrupts your child’s ability to function on a daily basis, please seek help from a mental health professional. Your child’s school or doctor may be able to refer you to one.