“Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
It goes without saying that violence often erupts out of anger. Understanding that all feelings are okay (as feelings) is a starting point for teaching young people about handling anger. Help your children understand that feelings and behaviors are different. Talk to them about the bodily sensations that go along with anger and make a plan for cooling off.
It’s unwise to try to problem-solve while either you or your child is angry. “Cooling off” first allows the thinking part of the brain to be activated. What works for each person in your family? Perhaps long slow breaths, running around the block, time alone (not as a punishment!), or working with clay.
Most importantly, pay attention to how you as an adult are handling anger. Children learn what they live!
- How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (2012) by Faber & Mazlish
- Siblings Without Rivalry (2012) by Faber & Mazlish
- Family Meetings chapter in Positive Discipline (2006) by Jane Nelson
- Ten Tips for Successful Family Meetings.http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/family-home-consumer/10-tips-for-successful-family-meetings
- A Volcano in My Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger (1996) by E. Whitehouse & W. Pudney
Children and Nonviolence page 6 – print version pdf