Anger Management In Action: Stop yelling At Your Kids

Screaming accomplishes Little
Screaming accomplishes Little

I hate to hear parents screaming at their kids. Why? Because it doesn’t work! It creates a bad feeling between parent and child! It makes the “yeller” look very bad socially (if done in public). It encourages “push back” from the yelled-at child. Did I mention that it doesn’t work? Anger Management is an important parenting skill.

When I was growing up on Cleveland, Ohio, I had a mother could have used anger management. She yelled a lot. Out of love and concern, mind you, but it was still yelling. Sometimes it was over minor things, other times over safety issues and other times over character development. She did it so much that my brother and I became immune to it, especially as we got older.

Truthfully, much of the time it went in one ear and out the other.

Our response to a yelling request was usually something like “yea…mom…right away.” as we went on with our lives. AS I write this now, I feel a little guilty about it, because she was right about what she was yelling about, but horribly ineffective in changing some of our behavior. Like picking up after ourselves. Or, doing chores. Or, coming in for dinner on time while out playing. Or,- and this was a big one- us two brothers not fighting with each other.

When we became adolescents, she got desperate to get us to do things – now more serious things like having my brother not play tennis or baseball because he had osteoporosis in his arm. Or, insisting loudly that he practice the clarinet because lessons were being paid for. She pleaded, she harangued, she threatened, she yelled. nothing seem to work. My brother and I could easily persuade her to change her mind about things, to feel sorry for us, and….I must confess…manipulate her.

Except at some point she caught on and would utter those dreaded words in a threatening tone:
“Wait until your father gets home.”

Now that usually worked because my dad was….let us say charitably..a no-nonsense disciplinarian. Once he made up his mind about something, he never changed it, especially in terms of his parenting principals (like: “children should be seen and not heard;” “all teenagers are irresponsible,” and “get that mad look off your face, or I’ll give you something to be mad about.”

We were very well behaved in school because of my Dad’s edict that “if you get in trouble in school, you will get in twice that amount of trouble when you get home.”

But, at least he followed through on his “consequences” when we behaved badly, whereas mom often would not.Unfortunately, his rigid and unbending rules caused much frustration and stifled creativity. It also unfortunately taught us that there was no negotiating with an authority figure.. your only choice was to succumb/comply or suffer pain.If you have dogs buy retractable dog leashes review and make you kids walk the dog.

On a scale of 1-10, we would do what dad said at a 10. He only needed to say it once (most of the time).

Fair or not, at least we knew what the deal was and what the rules were. Break them at your own peril.

The “cost” of that approach to parenting was that there was little or no closeness between my father and his male children. We “listened” to him, but did not have a close emotional connection with him.

So, how do you get your kids to change their behavior without yelling or without losing emotional connection with them? In short, how can you be an effective parent?

First of all, don’t yell; it is useless most of the time, and in most circumstances. In fact, it makes things worse because as they get older kids start seeing you as emotionally unstable, and they mighy lose respect for you, which is not a good thing at all.Read more about this on www.portableacnerd.com.

There are many other ways to deal with your children.Being mindful of alternatives will make you a more effective parent.Following are some tips that should be helpful:

*Be consistent with your house rules. Write the rules out and stick them on your refrigerator. Then if your kids act out, it is against the rules, not you personally. It puts a degree of separation between you and the bad behavior or your kids.

* You and their other parent must agree on the rules and standards and back each other up (within reason), even if you don’t agree with each other 100%.

*Tell your children how you feel when they do such and such. Rather than telling them how stupid, wrong, or immoral they are, tell them how disappointed you are in their behavior.

* Before yelling, take a time out and cool down. Come back later to deal with it. it only takes a few seconds of rage to cause a lot of damage in your relationship with your children.

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Six Parental Tips For Your Angry Children

It was labor day when 8 year old Brandon’s mother heard a commotion from her child’s room. Seems that his 14 year old visiting cousin said something that upset Brandon which caused Brandon to strike the other boy. His mother Michelle hysterically called her therapist wondering what to do and how to handle the anger in her young son which seemed to be escalating as he became older.

Her therapist wisely explained that children become angry in a variety of situations. Common causes of childhood anger include: frustration, needing attention, feeling powerless, being misunderstood, not feeling good about themselves, feeling helpless, being belittled or made fun of, not having physical needs taken care of, having a parent take over instead of asking if the child wants help, being disappointed, having difficulty saying what they need, or being punished.

The problem of excessive childhood anger is growing. Yet many parents—like Michelle—feel they don’t have the tools to teach their children how to deal with normal angry feelings in an appropriate manner, without hitting or yelling at others, or losing control. Therefore, some parents ineffectively deal with their child’s anger by demanding that he or she stop being angry. Worse, some parents actually yell at or hit their child in attempts to “teach” their child not to be angry. That is like putting them alone in the woods unarmed with a raging black bear to teach them not to be fearful!

Alternatively, good parenting requires teaching children the practical skills needed for anger control. Although feeling angry is a part of life that no one can avoid because it is “hardwired” in our brains as a protective and survival mechanism, we can teach our children positive ways to cope with these normal angry feelings. Learning the tools of anger management empowers children, makes them more effective and pleasant human beings, and improves the world by decreasing hatred, violence and conflict.

Following are six tips for parents to help their children manage anger with the help of aberdovey lifeboat, based on our model of anger management called the eight tools of anger control”: Continue reading “Six Parental Tips For Your Angry Children”

Angry Mothers: Learn Mindfulness. Then Teach It To Your Children!

Copy of assertive-arm and hand movements angry woman

The Problem
“I can’t deal with my own children,” lamented a young mother in one of our anger management classes.“They won’t listen, they do exactly what they want, they constantly fight with each other, and they won’t do their chores without a major argument.”

This young mother was ashamed that she was constantly angry at her own children. In response to their behavior, she would yell at them, call them names, and make empty threats of horrible consequences for non-compliance.But these responses did not seem to work; in fact, it made things worse as the children developed resentment and increased defiance toward their screaming mother.

The Solution As in an airline emergency, first put the oxygen mask on yourself. Then, put the oxygen mask on your children. You can’t expect your children to show good coping skills. and to handle stress well if you are impaired yourself.

Start by learning and then teaching mindfulness. to your children. It is amazingly simple, yet very effective over time. It helps mothers first deal with their own stress and anger and then gives her tools to teach to their children so that they can generally cope better with life. The positive effects of mindfulness has much science behind it and has many applications for both children and adults.

Mindfulness can be many things, but at its core, it is the skill of learning to focus on our present thoughts, feelings and body sensations without judgement. Many people associate this with meditation, but meditation is only one path to achieve mindfulness. It is very useful for relaxation, but it is much more than that. For children, it helps them become more attentive, balanced, and aware. For some, it has the potential to help kids see their lives more clearly, to become more positive and less tired, and to chose appropriate life paths.Learn more about this on CPR Classes Tampa.

As a first step toward helping our stressed client deal with her own stress, we taught her various tools of anger control. As a starter, we introduced the concept of mindful meditation consisting of simple breathing exercises. Mindfulness helps both mother and child calm down, to re-focus on what is important, to become more reflective, and to perhaps teach both to respond in different ways to family stress. Research shows that mindful practices over time increase “emotional intelligence” in children as they better understand how their brain works and how to develop more self-control with that knowledge.

Following are some simple breathing meditations that mother and child can practice together, taken from a book called “The Mindful Child” by Susan Kaiser Greenland :

Counting 1-1-1-1-1-1. When you breath in, let your body relax. When you breath out, silently count one, one, one, until your lungs feel empty. Repeat by relaxing again as you inhale and silently counting two, two, two, two, two, as you exhale. Repeat once more by relaxing as you inhale again and silently counting three, three,three, three, for the entire out breath. Continue this exercise in sets of three breaths (counting 1 on the first exhale, 2 on the second, and 3 on the third), until your mind quiets and you can rest in the physical sensation of breathing without counting.

When teaching this to your child, be aware that it takes time for them to accept the idea. Don’t force the issue, or another power struggle may develop, making things worse. For younger children, you may have to start with a 1 minute exercise, then gradually expand the time as your child progresses and sees the benefit. Don’t force them to close their eyes; some people prefer to keep eyes open.

The actress Goldie Hawn has written a delightful book on mindfulness called “10 Mindful Minutes.” which I would recommend to all parents. Among the wise nuggets of information is the followng: “Mindful parenting involves recognizing and nurturing our children’s unique personalities and not seeing them as projections of ourselves. There’s simply no cookie-cutter standard for how to treat our children.”

In our anger management classes we teach parents to respond instead of react to the behavior of our children that is troublesome. Hawn, in her book, amplifies this approach by saying that “reactive parenting can be very detrimental for our children. Yelling at them for forgetting something or doing something we don’t like only frightens them – it doesn’t make them stop.” We can gain control over our anger by understanding that our higher thinking has been hijacked by our emotional state; hence, we’re no longer in control.”

Once parents learn to respond differently to their children – not just react in knee-jerk fashion- the next step is to teach their children the same. Children need to understand how their brain works and how to deal with anger and frustration that all people experience. Hawn explains this simply as follows: “The anger and frustration that we feel in such moments is simply our Guard Dog amygdala {section of the brain} responding to the perceived stressful situation and taking over our emotions. Once we understand this, we can learn to recognize when we’ve been hijacked and accept that the path back to clear thinking is mindful awareness. ….”

In summary, a mindful approach to parenting quiets the minds of both parent and child, reduces stress, and puts both of you more in control of your emotions. Doesn’t that sound better than living in a family with constant yelling, screaming, negativism, and fighting?

Six Tips For Parents to Handle Child Anger

Strong Willed Child
Strong Willed Child

Often, we get phone calls from parents who are angry at their children, usually because they happen to have what I euphemistically call a “strong-willed child. ” These children are often defiant, controlling, rebellious, and non-compliant with normal parental demands or requests. Sometimes this extends to their behavior in school, but in other cases they seem to be fine at school and only problematic at home. Things can become so bad that the child can be labeled an “explosive child” involving verbal and behavior aggression and even violence.  In its extreme, these children may be given numerous psychiatric diagnoses such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intermittent explosive disorder, Tourette;s Disorder, Depression bipolar disorder, Asperger’s disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Parents of strong-willed children often feel guilty and inept. But, while parenting certainly hasd a lot to do with the milder problems within the normal range, truly explosive children are a lot more complex than previously thought and may be the result of numerous factors. An excellent book to help parents with these children is “The Explosive Child” by Dr. Ross. W. Greene. Click here to learn about his “Collaborative Problem Solving Approach.”

Screaming accomplishes Little
Screaming Accomplishes Little

For cases in the more normal range,  we teach in  our anger management classes and Online programs  how to better cope with strong-willed or difficult children by learning the eight tools of anger control – and then applying these tools to themselves too!

It was labor day when 8 year old Brandon’s mother heard a commotion from her child’s room. Seems that his 14 year old visiting cousin said something that upset Brandon which caused Brandon to strike the other boy. His mother Michelle hysterically called her therapist wondering what to do and how to handle the anger in her young son which seemed to be escalating as he became older.

Her therapist wisely explained that children become angry in a variety of situations. Common causes of childhood anger include: frustration, needing attention, feeling powerless, being misunderstood, not feeling good about themselves, feeling helpless, being belittled or made fun of, not having physical needs taken care of, having a parent take over instead of asking if the child wants help, being disappointed, having difficulty saying what they need, or being punished.

The problem of excessive childhood anger is growing. Yet many parents—like Michelle—feel they don’t have the tools to teach their children how to deal with normal angry feelings in an appropriate manner, without hitting or yelling at others, or losing control. Therefore, some parents ineffectively deal with their child’s anger by demanding that he or she stop being angry. Worse, some parents actually yell at or hit their child in attempts to “teach” their child not to be angry. That is like putting them alone in the woods unarmed with a raging black bear to teach them not to be fearful!

Alternatively, good parenting requires teaching children the practical skills needed for anger control.  Although feeling angry is a part of life that no one can avoid because it is “hardwired” in our brains as a protective and survival mechanism, we can teach our children positive ways to cope with these normal angry feelings. Learning the tools of anger management empowers children, makes them more effective and pleasant human beings, and improves the world by decreasing hatred, violence and conflict.

Following are six tips for parents to help their children manage anger, based on our model of anger management called the “eight tools of anger control”

Tip #1- TEACH HOW TO RESPOND INSTEAD OF REACT
Parents can teach their children the difference between feeling angry and acting on anger.  Michelle explained to Brandon that feeling mad is neither good nor bad, but hitting someone out of anger is not OK. She then explained that we have choices as to how to deal with angry feelings.  Encouraging your child to take time-out until they cool down, to keep a journal, draw, or talk out their emotions are positive outlets for feelings of anger.

Providing a means by which to channel feelings into positive actions is another tool to help your child deal with his or her angry feelings. Examples might include taking a relaxing walk, writing letters and cards, doing something nice for another person, or donating time to a worthwhile community project geared toward helping others.

In the short run, life at home will be easier when children learn how to work through anger. In the long run, children will continue developing ways to cope with anger as they become teenagers and adults, and will pass these skills along to their own children.

Tip #2- BE AWARE OF HOW YOUR CHILDREN ARE SEEING YOU
Start by setting a good example. Children learn from observing your behavior. Be aware of the messages you are sending your child in terms of how you behave toward them, how you behave toward other people, and how they see you handling your own anger and stress.

Unfortunately, some misguided parents create hatred in their children by modeling prejudice, intolerance, disrespect or violence toward other people that may be different from them or have different word views. Teaching “empathy” (the ability to see the world from the perspective of another), openness, tolerance and understanding are extremely valuable anger-management tools to teach yourself and your children.

Tip #3-TELL CHILDREN PERSONAL STORIES OF TRIUMPH
Your children need to hear stories of how you may have overcome hardship, adversity, or other life challenges. Research shows that hearing your stories of empowerment over rough times or situations can make your children feel more attached to you, and give them more hope for themselves to be able to overcome their life difficulties. Having more optimism and developing more positive attitudes can often reduce anger in children and adults alike.

Tip #4- BE CONSISTENT IN PARENTING
At any age, anger is often generated between the gap between what is expected and what actually occurs in reality. With children, it is especially important to outline exactly what the consequences are (positive and negative) for their behavior—and then stick to it! Consistency makes children feel more secure, less anxious, and less likely to react angrily if they don’t get “their own way.” Parental consistency between parents or other adults in your child’s life is also very important to create stability and a sense of predictability.

Tip #5- REDUCE FAMILY STRESS
Coping with family stressors is an important tool of anger management, as angry outbursts are much more likely to occur as personal and family stress levels rise. There are many ways to buffer family stressors such as maintaining regular rituals for eating together, sharing the day with each other, finding time to play together, and emotionally supporting each other.

Parents can also help their children learn to calm themselves or self-sooth when angry.  It is often helpful to calm their anger by using the five senses: touching, smelling, tasting, hearing, and seeing. Squeezing play dough, splashing in water, running around outside, listening to music, painting a picture, tensing and relaxing muscles, taking slow deep breaths, or eating a healthy snack are all good responses to angry feelings.

Children who respond well to touch can be taught how to massage their own neck or arms as a self-calming technique. These same children also may find a great deal of comfort in stroking or caring for a pet. To reduce stress, try telling your child the following:
* let’s draw a picture about how you feel
* a warm bath sometimes helps wash away angry feelings
* when you feel hungry and irritable, tell me and I’ll find a snack for you
* sit down and take slow deep breaths until you have calmed down.

Tip #6 – TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO SOLVE PROBLEMS
Parent can teach their older preschool, school-age and teenage children to problem solve as a “prevention” tool for getting angry. Michelle, for instance, taught Brandon to “stop and think” the next time he was angry—before losing control and striking other children. She also taught him how to listen to his cousin with both his eyes and ears, before getting upset so that he could “name” the problem and discuss what was upsetting him.

Turns out that Brandon’s cousin had made a disparaging remark about Brandon’s father who happened to be incarcerated. Once the issue was named, Michelle taught Brandon to think of different ways to solve the problem. They agreed on Brandon telling his cousin how much it hurt his feelings to hear “bad” things about his father. As a final step, they agreed to discuss how well their planned worked in a few days.

Most children will need adult help in thinking through this process and coming up with creative problem-solving techniques, but the skills learned will serve your child well throughout his lifetime and might greatly reduce stress in you rhome.

Children’s Anger Has Many Causes

“I have a ten-year old,” the caller said, “and he just can’t control himself. He was playing soccer last week and completely lost his temper on the field, assaulting another boy, resulting in his being suspended from the team.” Another frantic mother called and said her 13 year old daughter “bullies her sisters and talks to me like she has absolutely no respect.” A father reported that his 14 year old son blows up at his teachers in school, is defiant, and refuses to comply with rules he doesn’t agree with.

Anger is children can be complicated and often requires a professional mental health evaluation to identify underlying emotional disturbance or other conditions such as ADD or ADHD. In other cases, the problem may be poor parenting or role-modeling earlier in the child’s life. For instance, the mother of the 13 year old girl admitted that the girl had repeatedly heard her father degrade the mother in their never ending abusive marital battles. The mother then admitted that she often talked without respect to the girl herself; in this case, the girl had learned disrespect for others well – by her own parents.Parents such this often create the problem and then seem astounded when they have to live with it in their own home.

Some angry children have not yet developed adequate coping skills, impulse control skills, or stress control skills which results in explosive behavior when things do not go their way, or they have top grapple with  with normal childhood stressors. Still others have not yet learned how to think correctly about life and life situations; their self-talk is distorted resulting in their constantly dialing up their natural angry feelings instead of knowing how to calm themselves down and deal with the situation.

Twelve year old Tina fell in this category of not being able to think correctly about her mother which resulted in constant anger and disrespect. Seems that her parents divorced several years previously and Tina made the judgment in her mind that it was wrong for her mother to date other men.  Her “self-talk” went along the lines of “She shouldn’t date other men because I don’t want her to;” “she pays more attention to his children than to me and my sisters.”

Other thinking errors include what I call a “revenge” or “get even” philosophy of life that some children have been taught. Unable to develop empathy for others, including parents, teachers, and peers, these children are often angry because they haven’t yet developed the skill of  accepting limitations in others,  and the skill of forgiving others for mistakes, misdeeds, or bad behavior toward them.

The development of anger management skills sometimes requires a trained child therapist, but often parents can teach their own children some of these skills (once they learn them personally). In our anger program, we do not do groups or classes with children under twelve because generally they are too immature to process the information in that setting. But, we do teach these skills to children and their parents in individual sessions of anger management which often includes an age-appropriate book or workbook with exercises for them (and their parents) to practice from session to session.

Details of our consultation program at: http://www.angercoach.com

Angry Parents Should Take Heart

Are you a parent who is angry at their child for not doing well in school? According to a recent study titled “Appreciating Beauty in the Bottom 80,” parents should not despair because their child’s future might still be bright despite poor performance in school. The author, Christine Duvivier, argues that many renowned scientists, leaders, and productive citizens were not good students.Often these children actually have gifts that are well suited to successful lives, but often these abilities are not amplified and enhanced in school.

So what is a parent to do? As an alternative to feeling constant anger, frustration. or failure as a parent, try the following three things:

1. Learn to appreciate the value of each child’s strengths and gifts. Understand how their very gifts can get in the way of performing well in school. Discuss with them the real-world data on successful people who were not good students.

2.  Offer your child more opportunities. Learn how to allow your child to use their gifts and strengths in ways that engage them. Ideally. we will do this in classrooms, but at a a minimum, this means more opportunities for sports, art, music, community service. meditation and movement.

3. Look at the bright side.  When you find their gifts and strengths, most teens look bright.

More on practical ways to manage anger at http://www.angercoach.com

To read the full article on which this blog entry  is based, click here

New Mothers May Need Anger Management

A recent trend seen in anger management clients is that of young mothers seeking skills to deal with anger and frustration experienced in parenting their children. Under much stress, these mothers find themselves “blowing up” at normal childhood behavior and not having the tolerance and patience they would like.

In fact, some recent parenting books are now recommending anger management for mothers who are having difficulty coping with their children. After getting angry, these mothers often feel intense guilt and shame for their behavior.

The eight tools of anger control taught in The Anger Coach classes can be of great help to these mothers. These tools include dealing better with stress, adjusting your expectations of your children, learning how to respond instead of react,and changing self-talk (your internal dialogue) to reduce anger and stress.

Assaulted Teacher But Walks Free

Recent Article in news.com.au
“A SYDNEY school student has avoided a custodial sentence for choking a female teacher in a classroom, after a court found he was deeply remorseful.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded guilty at Bidura Children’s Court to assaulting the teacher at Randwick Boys High School on June 19 this year.

The 24-year-old woman was treated in hospital for severe swelling and bruising to her neck, chest and hand.

The boy was originally charged with attempted murder but that was later downgraded to assault on a school staff member occasioning actual bodily harm, which carries a maximum seven year custodial sentence.

Magistrate Paul Mulroney today imposed an 18-month suspended control order on the boy on the provision he undertake education and counselling via the juvenile justice system.

Mr Mulroney said he would not impose a custodial sentence due to the remorse shown by the boy.

He said there was “no interest” in the boy being placed in custody.

“It clearly will not provide any lesson. It seems that many of the lessons he needs to learn have already been learnt,” he said.

“There is considerable evidence that (the boy) feels very deep remorse for what he has done.”

Mr Mulroney said the boy had previously been the victim of “excessive physical discipline” from members of his family and at the time of the attack was also under psychological stress because of family issues.

He accepted an expert report that the teacher was “unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time” on a day that the boy was feeling “considerable rage and anger”.

The boy is an active member of the Hillsong Church and is now undertaking distance education and is a realistic chance of attending university, the court was told.

Mr Mulroney, however, ordered the conviction be formally recorded to show the seriousness of the crime, adding that teachers needed protection in their workplace.

An apprehended violence order is also imposed for the same 18-month period, preventing the boy from going near his victim. “