Sunday, June 27, 2010

Anger Management Tips for Parents and Kids

Article first published as Anger Management Tips for Parents and Kids on Technorati.
Anger brings out the rawest of human emotions in us. Kids are no different. Kids get frustrated and angry as we do. Anger is generally an “uncontrolled” emotional reaction . Well, can it be made “controlled” and productive reaction? This is the theme of one of the recent articles on anger management published on CNN. There have been multiple articles published on “anger management” that talk about teaching breathing techniques etc. to kids. That’s all fine but I’m not sure if it’s practical to expect a 6 or 7 yr old to learn breathing techniques, in my opinion as a parent. The CNN article by Dr. Mark Epstein discusses some practical ways to manage anger in kids but the real answer boils down to one sure shot way – practice what you preach. It’s very difficult to control your anger when your 9yr old daughter is crying incessantly over some silly band that she lost. To you it’s literally silly to cry over it but it’s analogous to an adult stressing over losing his/her iphone at a restaurant. But if you as an adult scream at every thing that goes wrong – you cannot expect your kids to react differently when things get out of control for them. And for kids pretty much every thing is out of their control and on top of it their sense of control is underdeveloped – a lethal combination. Let’s look at some common-sense ways you can use with your kids if you really want them to grow up as smart, healthy and happy kids:
• If the child is angry, don’t overreact – stay calm and also do not disengage by just going to another room

• Show your kids that you can keep your emotions in control – show them how you actually controlled yourself in a situation which could have gotten worse if you had lost your temper.

• Teach kids to write about how angry they are with you or someone else – they can do this when their angry spell is over. They can send an email to their parents or friend on why they were angry

• In some cases, it’s important to let the child know that you mean business. Again, shouting and empty threats don’t work. The best way is to take away privileges without any harsh words. But this needs to be done selectively – choose your battles otherwise this approach will loose its effectiveness.
It’s not going to be easy to practice these seemingly simple guidelines when your child is going through one of those days and you are getting late for an appointment. But remember, you are teaching kids one of the most important skills of their life that only you can teach – how to keep a calm head when things go out of control. Calm head is a key trait of successful people. This also means parents need to learn this skill themselves first. And that just makes me angry !!

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