One thing I never expected with parenting was how much learning I would do on dealing with anger, and how difficult this emotion would be for me to deal with in my kids! This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.
I’ve been reading “How to Take the Grrr out of Anger” with them, and we made a poster together this morning – ideas for how to change our thoughts from negative to proactive. It’s good stuff.
When I first got the book I wasn’t sure if I liked it. At first glance it seemed to take a long time to really dig into the parts about handling anger, but since we’ve been reading it together, I’m really valuing the way this book is written.
I realized that what I was uncomfortable with at first were the beginning chapters chapters on different ways “people express anger”, and “dumb things people do when they’re angry” which both tell little stories about angry behavior. I may want to have a family that deals well with anger, but it still remains a scary emotion for me. My tendency (and my kids tendency) is to not want to talk about it.
When I saw the chapters telling all these anger stories I felt the urge to just skip them. I wanted to get to the “solutions” right away. But one thing I’m learning (Oh so slowly, heh) is this:
Anger doesn’t have a quick fix. Small steps forward in dealing positively with emotions are more sustainable than big leaps.
Another thing with the stories is that I think deep down I feared that if my kids heard yet more ways of people handling anger badly it would only add to their own angry actions.
As it turns out, these have been extremely helpful chapters, giving us lots to talk about, and a more open way to express our feelings when one of us is being angry with another. Being able to talk about other kids getting angry makes this emotion seem less like a taboo, evil thing, and more like something that’s manageable. It is a way of pulling a dark subject into the light.
We’ve been reading it slowly, no more than a chapter a day (I do it at the beginning of our homeschool day). When we start out, we first talk about what we read the last time in order to review what we learned. I’ve been giving the kids coloring pages from their homeschool journals to work on while they listen or clay, perler beads, knitting or other quiet keep-hands-busy work.
To be clear: my kids are resistant to it. They do not love the topic, and they protest and swear they’re not listening, yet we’ve had SO many good conversations based on what we’re reading, so I keep at it. We do short sessions, and not every day. I see my kids trying out and remembering the concepts (bit by bit), so it’s sinking in.
- Noticing the different ways each of us expresses anger
- Breathing in 1,2,3,4,5 and out 1,2,3,4,5
- Taking a break when we need to (and me acknowledging that the kids are doing a great job when they stop and walk away from a fight.)
- “Thinking Smart” – This usually involves me talking out loud about my thinking at appropriate times, saying things like, “Maybe there’s a solution we haven’t thought of yet.” or “I think I need a break.” Basically, just being very obvious about using the tools we’ve been talking about for handling frustration and anger.
The poster in this picture is not some beautiful printable because I made it while taking notes on the ideas my kids were giving me. I published it because I wanted others to see that we can do a lot for our families just with talking together and jotting things down – we don’t need everything to look perfect. We’ve got the poster hanging on our fridge right now – It’s a good reminder not only for the kids, but for my husband and I as well on how to change our thinking for negative to proactive.
I look forward to continuing to learn more from How to Take the GRRR Out of Anger. I would recommend the book for kids from approximately ages 7-12, though I think our 5 year old does well with it because she’s listening with her 8 and 10 year old big brothers; it definitely depends on personality.
For anger books for younger kids you can try:
- Make your own Positive Behavior Book – One of my top recommendations. You can make your own very simple book with your child in which you talk about how they can deal with anger. Because your child has a hand in the making of the book, it’s very powerful and empowering.
- Percy Gets Upset – Recommended because the situations are relevant to very young children, 3 or 4 years old.
- When I Feel Angry (Way I Feel Books) – The cute bunny in this book (big points for cute bunnies from my kids) gets mad, but then finds positive ways to handle anger.
- Angry Octopus: An Anger Management Story introducing active progressive muscular relaxation and deep breathing – We have this on a CD with four other stories called Indigo Ocean Dreams that all deal with getting calm and feeling self confident.
Find more Ways to Deal with Anger on my Anger Resources Page
Do you have any books to recommend? How is you family learning to deal with anger? Let’s chat!