Some Good Tips for People’s Anger

I am approached, by many parents, to work with their children on anger management. The problem with that is that the parents, not me, are the ones from whom the children actually learn the most about anger management. Kids learn first by watching what their parents do when their parents get angry. Do the parents hide their anger and pretend they’re not angry, only to say little snide and hurtful comments under their breath for the next two days? Do the parents hold their temper for days and days and weeks and months, but then, all of a sudden, one day, they just ‘blow,’ yelling and screaming at everyone about everything? Do the parents get angry at themselves and each other and other adults, but take it out on the children? Do parents just get and stay angry all the time and complain and moan about everything all the time? Parents must take a long, hard look at the way that they, themselves, handle anger before suggesting that it is the child that has an anger management problem. You can take your child to a therapist for a couple of hours a month, but when they watch you for 500 hours that month, what do you think they’ll really remember? What a therapist told them or what you showed them? If parents want to work with their children on anger management, I am generally happy to work with the whole family, teaching everyone anger management skills they can all practice together, with the adults leading the way and the children following along. Generally, the principals are as follows: When you first recognize that you are angry, do your best to stop talking (Stop). If you can, at all, get away from people (Go Away). While you are alone and quiet, you will have a chance to calm down and really think about what happened (Think). Stay away and thinking for as long as it takes until you are really calm and reasonable. Once you are thinking clearly again, then figure out what you will actually do about the problem (Plan). It may take you a while to come up with a plan that you can actually accomplish, but when you do, begin working on it (Act). If you take the first letters of those words: Stop, Go Away, Think, Plan, and Act, you can use them to make the following phrase: Some Good Tips for People’s Anger. That might help you remember those steps when you are most inclined to forget them – when you’re ANGRY!

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