ANGER MANAGEMENT FOR CHILDREN.
WHY IS MY CHILD SO ANGRY?
Parents often ask me: “Why is my child so angry?”
Let me give you two illustrations to help lead you to the conclusion I have made. First, in my own life, in 1972, I had neural-neck surgery to remove a chip of a bone lodged in the spine causing great pain—couldn’t lay down to sleep. After the surgery, I still had to carry my left hand and arm. Even though I was in the healing stages, I had pain and no control over my left arm. I remember being angry at my body for not responding faster.
Another example comes from my wellness practice with the QXCI (now called Eductor64). In 2004, Louis, a NASA scientist from Huntsville, AL had a stroke at age 40. He did his research and determined that the bio-feedback computerized (world’s largest medical software) program was want he needed. Then he found that I was the closest practitioner. He had his wife drive him to me in Portland, TN. I remember our first meeting. He could barely get out of the van. The stroke had mangled everything on his right side of his body. By strong courage he dragged his right leg and used his left arm to carry his right arm. His mouth couldn’t hold his saliva and it flowed out the right side of his mouth.
Despite his condition, his progress was excellent. I used a lot of the programs that balance the brain parts to create new neurological pathways. He was also working with a chiropractor and speech therapist so his second visit there were steady improvements. I asked him what caused the stroke. He gave me such a scientific explanation of the balance of the amino acids in the brain that lost me. Yet, on the third visit, I told him that if we didn’t figure out what caused the amino acids to cause side effects, he would set himself up for another stroke.
“Oh, I had had all my teeth capped.” He said.
By capping all his teeth, he disrupted the electrical impulses from the teeth to all the organs in the body including the brain. With that information, we implemented the dental program.
When I did see him 6 months later at a health fair show, he was standing on both of his feet, shaking people’s hands. He was just an attendee but he could have been the poster child for dynamic improvement for stroke victims with the use of this bio-feedback machine. He could talk with people and have conversations as if the stroke and other maladies never occurred.
What I remember most about him was the conversation we had about his anger and frustration. He described the difficulty he was having in talking. If he could think of the word (and that was even difficult at times), he couldn’t get it passed through the system so that his tongue could articulate the sound. Although that became momentary for him, I told him I understood because with my ADD I have had that difficulty all my life.
I have concluded that the anger stems from lack of control. Thus, the following are some of the solutions that I found worked for my ADD, my son’s ADHD and violent behavior, and many of my private clients. Below are the key steps to reducing anger:
HELP THE CHILD TO SLOW DOWN. Get him or her to breathe deeply. Breathe in and out in a slow manner to help them to the same. If possible, say something like: “Let’s try this another way. Maybe you will find it goes easier. If not, we can try another way.” Or, you might say something like; “I hear your anger but could you possibly be afraid?” Remember, the child is still learning and doesn’t have to get it right (in our minds) the first time. Praise the child when s/he does a good job or puts out good effort. “Good try!” Build on the positives. I think these special needs children are sent with a double portion of independence. Promote that quality and see what unfolds. I have also found that children respond better to red light (stop) and green light (go) better than saying “No.” In my office I have smiling faces colored green on sheets of paper on the doors of the rooms the child can enter. I have red frowning faces with the word stop on the wood burning stove and other doors of rooms that are private to me.
HELP THE CHILD NOTICE HIS OR HER OWN BODY AND WHAT IS HAPPENING INSIDE FOR THEM. The more the child is in his or her own body there is less room for malevolent spirits to enter. Part of the growing up process, is to teach the child to take control over his own body. Ask the child, “What to do notice inside you.” It is not so important that the child have a name for it, only that the child stops beating on his younger sibling and focus inside to the feeling of hurt, disappointment, anger, jealous, etc. Usually even the youngest child can describe what is happening. My 7-year old son described how his body was being squeezed to death even though he was only sitting on someone’s lap and no one was touching him. Only several days later did I fully understand. I was given sugar in a cola base to test levels of blood sugar. After the medical tests, I went home and laid on my bed where I felt like I was on a medieval rack and someone was pulling each leg and arms a different direction. But, that is the experience some children have with sugar and sodas in their diets.
MAKE IT SAFE TO FEEL. In order for the child to express him or herself, the child needs to feel like the big person is in his or her own body and will protect the child to experience whatever this feeling is. Some children will even throw things at the parent because they are aware that parents are worried or anxious and not providing the safety that the child needs. Sometimes, the child is too busy experiencing the feeling and cannot tell you what it is or why. That is why they need the parent to be totally in his or her own body and available to help the child. Early in my journey, I was told to get help for me as a person and as a parent. That was and still is good advice.
START EARLY. One of the guest speakers I would have in my juvenile delinquency classes that I taught at Virginia Commonwealth University was an attorney. As many of my own students were wannabe attorneys, they were stunned when he confessed that in the third grade he held a knife to one of his classmate’s throat. He then went on to explain why he was so angry and frustrated sitting in a classroom not being able to respond like the other students. Lucky for him, someone got help for him. He received accommodations for tests while in college, law school and the bar exam (exam to be permitted to practice law). Now, he advocates for children with disabilities.
HOW DO I KNOW THIS?
In 1975, I was a welfare mother, living in public housing. Even though I received a government grant to study for a Ph. D. Degree in Sociology (Criminal Justice) at Washington State University, those were tough times. I remember the night I was flying back from Seattle, Washington, having done some research on police stress. In the darkness of the commercial plane, I was reading a book in which the author had listed seven factors for teenage boys in being incarcerated in a state correctional facility. Of the seven listed, my 7-year old violent child had four of them. He was too young to have the other three. I cried. I cried and put up an earnest prayer for help. I knew that without divine intervention and new ways of dealing with these children, my precious son and other sons and daughters of God could become lost.
Over all those years, help has come through many persons teaching me so that I could teach others. My latest textbook Juvenile Justice System: Law and Process, 2nd edition, was dedicated to Samuel, my son, “who through his violent behavior as a child, taught me to see the gaps in the criminological theory and to broaden my knowledge into newer, non tradition treatment and prevention for juvenile delinquency. Thanks, Sam, for being the laboratory experience for the degree work.” In that textbook Chapter 9 is dedicated to Key Elements for Innovative Prevention Programs. It describes all the data that was available in 2000 that dealt with brain development, learning styles, multiple intelligences, psychological and sociological studies. That work could not have been accomplished without my obtaining a dual degree in law and social work.
If you are a parent reading this, welcome to this journey. You can stand on the shoulders of some of us pioneers! Glad you are here. I was getting lonely.