Don’t let Anger Overtake Your Children

Anger is a short madness. – Horace

As a result of the last argument I had with my husband, our house is spotless.  According to “emotions such as anger and hostility quickly activate the ‘fight or flight response,’ in which stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, speed up your heart rate and breathing and give you a burst of energy.” So I used all that adrenaline and cortisol from the argument to get my home spic-and-span.  Added benefit: it helped me cool off and get over over my initial “madness.”  I was then better able to talk things out with my husband and resolve whatever issue caused the argument in the first place. So, for me, it was a healthy way to deal with my anger.

What do you do when you are angry? Have you found ways to calm down? How about your children? Have you helped them learn how to react to their feelings of anger? Parents may be tempted to talk their children out of their anger, minimize it or even ignore it. But teaching our children how to deal with anger in a healthy way is important. First, recognize that anger is normal – even in little kids. Then, teach them not to  suppress their anger, but to express it in a beneficial way. Here are some suggestions for your children (and you!) to use to deal with the “short madness” before reacting:

  • take deep breaths
  • gently splash water on your face
  • drink cold water
  • visualize a calm thing like a cloud or a leaf floating on a stream
  • relax your body, act like a puddle on the floor, sway from side to side like a blade of grass
  • exercise, take a brisk walk, shoot hoops, jog in place
  • draw
  • role play with stuffed animals or puppets

Learn ways to control anger feelings and express them in a healthy way instead of reacting in a way that hurts you or others. I most heartily suggest cleaning when angry – your house will never be shinier!

by Claire Gawinowicz


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