Understanding Anger And How it Works
Recognising Anger In Us
Sometimes the best way to manage anger is to actually understand it and how it works. It's great to give children skills to help them to manage their anger. But, if we can teach our children how to understand how anger works and how it builds up inside us, then we can actually begin to teach them to recongnise their own triggers. Once a child is able to recognise their triggers, they begin to manage their anger and become the 'boss' of it.
Practical Tools For Helping Our Children To Manage Their Anger
It is so important that we teach our children practical skills for managing their anger. Our children need to understand that anger, in itself, isn't bad. Anger can motivate people to do great things such as creating social change or being motivated to create a business that meets a desperate need.
But, when anger is not expressed appropriately, it can be experienced as a very negative emotion. It can be negative for those around the angry person who may be screamed at, hurt physically or made to feel really scared. It can be negative for the person experiencing it as it builds dislike for themselves, they become ineffective in what they need to be doing as anger removes their focus and they may also be at risk of hurting themselves and others.
So What Do We Do?
We need to help our children to:
1) Recognise their own triggers - what sets them off (They need to learn to recognise these triggers prior to exploding. When they recognise the trigger it needs to be the warning bell that anger is fast approaching. They need to identify at this point what they can do to reduce their anger from increasing.
2) We need to give our children activities that are practical which will assist them in reducing their anger. So, sitting down talking to your child about why they are so angry doesn't work nearly as well as letting them jump on a trampoline or hit a punch bag.
3) After your child has done a physical activity, they are often much closer to understanding why they are feeling angry and more capable of putting it into words. This is now the time to sit and talk to them about what is causing their anger.
4)Acknowledge what your child is feeling. Don't judge them as they know what is happening inside of them. Ask questions that help them to clarify their thoughts and feelings.
5) Help them to make plans to manage their anger. By having identified what triggers them, you can discuss together how to avoid thse triggers and if their anger is triggered, which activities would be most effective for reducing their anger. Having a plan is the best way to stay in control.
Resources Available For Managing Anger
Children's Book: 'I Can Help Myself When I'm Feeling Angry'
Translated and read as an audio book in Zulu and Afrikaans
I Can Help Myself When I'm Feeling Angry' is a self-help book for children which gives them fun ideas of ways that they can reduce their anger. At present the book is in print in English but the Zulu and Afrikaans readings of the book can be found below.
An activity book has also been compiled as well as a manual for adults explaining how the activities work. Both the self-help storybook, manual for adults and the activity book can be bought in the online store.
Read in Zulu by Connie Nyathela
Read in Afrikaans by Anina Erasmus
The "Angry Toolbox' will be in the online store soon!