Letter to Parents
of Children with
Problems of Anger
Lynne Namka, Ed. D. ©
so many letters from baffled parents with angry children. Some
of the parents have a background of abuse from childhood. Others
have a child with an anger prone temperament. Other angry children
have a history of sexual abuse the parents may not know about.
Some children have a combination of these three factors. If
your child has a change in behavior for the worse, ask him or
her if someone has touched their private parts or has hurt them
in any way.
these kids who are different from your ordinary type of discipline
kids the Industrial Strength Kids. They require Industrial Strength
Parenting. Even more than the ordinary garden variety type of
child, Industrial Strength Kids need to learn the skills talking
about feelings instead of acting them out, containing their
anger, handling criticism and being able to see things from
other people s eyes.
you read this letter, sit down with your (older) child and read
the parts of it to him or her that could be understood. Then
work together in making a plan to address the various aspects
of what I describe.
who talk about their feelings decrease their anger. As they
grow up, they are less likely to turn to alcohol or drugs or
join gangs. One of the MOST IMPORTANT skills for children with
anger to learn is to talk about their feelings instead of acting
them out in anger outbursts. Children who talk out their hurts
and disappointments have an outlet for their stress.
skills that can be taught and reinforced are taking turns, listening
to others, inhibiting behaviors that threaten others, following
directions, stopping sarcasm and egging others on. Some of the
higher level skills are resolving conflict, listening with empathy
when pain and hurt are described, giving support and encouragement
and creative problem solving.
skills are easy to teach. Children can learn the positive values
of treating each other with respect and taking responsibility
for their own behavior. The steps to teaching social skills
are similar to teaching academic subjects except that play and
group activities and discussion plays a stronger role.
You can get
a list of specific skills for anger management on my web page
called Positive Anger Skills listed under
the skill that needs to be learned.
the skill through discussion and modeling of the desired response.
the rule and alternatives to the rule.
the child what to say and do regarding the new skill.
the child cue himself through self talk.
practice of the skill through modeling, games, puppet and
doll play, and role playing.
the new skill during practice.
the child to reinforce himself using self talk for using the
skill. (Feel good about using the skill!)
opportunities for generalization and reinforcement of the
skill in daily play.
skills training gives children a bigger bag of tricks from which
to choose. Children can learn techniques to deal with threat
and their anger. The habitually angry child can change his perceptual
distortions of seeing hostility and threat when there is none.
He can learn to master the skills of stating feelings and staying
centered during other people's outbursts of anger and refrain
from lashing out at others. Focusing on choices will give him
the time to move into logical problem solving. Self-angering
thoughts can be challenged and interrupted to inhibit impulsive
competence requires that we learn to feel our emotions, talk
about them and make responsible behavior choices that are respectful
of others and ourselves. When children learn to feel and talk
their feelings, then they can learn to trust others.
are not a natural teacher for your own children, find someone
who can help them learn necessary social skills of anger management
such as a counselor or a college student majoring in eduction
or psychology. My curriculums give all activities to teach anger
in children need to be nipped in the bud so you don't have tremendous
problems during the teen years. You are going to need some help.
I strongly recommend that parents take parenting class in the
early years and one later on when their oldest child turns twelve
(there are a whole set of skills in raising a teen anger!) You
can find out about classes by calling your local mental health
center or local school counselor. Or look in the paper. You'll
get tremendous support from other parents who are having the
same problems you are. You will feel so much better about yourself
as a parent!
TV and movies to a minimum. Children who watch The Simpsons
and South Park will model disrespectful behavior.
your child into one of the martial arts which teaches self discipline
and respect for others.
with the latest trends in anger management. Being the parent
of an angry child is a year by year challenge. Sometimes day
children these lessons which emphasize respect and responsibility
and live them yourself. If you are an angry person yourself,
your child will act as you do. You will have to address your
own anger if you expect your child to change.
Hugs a Day for all Family Members. You may substitute touches,
smiles, compliments and affectionate gestures for the these
hugs, but get a balance between these four categories of positive
expression. Give twelve positive strokes after a blow out with
someone you care about to do damage repair on the relationship.
Making up after an argument is a necessary skill to keep a relationship
Good Use of Your Own Mads. Address your own anger when it
comes up. Learn safe, appropriate ways to handle it. Talk your
angry feelings out loud in your child s presence. Model your
getting angry and then taking a Time Out to cool down by announcing
to your child what you are doing. Emphasize that your family
is becoming a Talk Your Feelings Family!ý
What You Say And Say What You Mean.' said Lucy of the Peanuts
cartoon. When you make a commitment, keep it. When you say only
what you will follow through on, your children will learn that
you mean business. If you say it, do it. Move your body not
your mouth for discipline and insist that your child minds by
your following though. If you aren't going to follow through
forget about saying it.
Who You Are, Do Not Emphasize on What You Do. Balance effort,
success and a sense of being who you are. Yes, effort is necessary
to succeed in life. But children need to know that they are
more than their latest performance. If self esteem is only tied
to effort ( I am valuable due to my achievement) , the child
is only as good as his latest project. He will learn to devalue
his values and his own self and place too much emphasis on projects.
Teach the balance between 'To be.' and 'To Do.'
from Your Mistakes. Errors are for learning, not for beating
yourself up. Learn to problem solve after failing and you will
have a sure-fire formula for success. Self esteem grows when
mistakes are used to examine your life and do it different next
time. Stretch and grow from your mistakes and you will have
a sure-fire formula for success. You are as mature as you are
able to own your errors and get a plan to correct them.
No whining. No excuses. Take responsibility for your goof ups.
Taking responsibility is real power, personal power. That is
Expect To Get Favors in Life. Do Expect That You Will Have To
Work Hard For What You Get. Work hard and good experiences
will come your way. Entitlement as a way of expecting the world
to take care of you rarely works. Expecting to get your way
all the time will turn you into a miserable person.
Your Dreams. You May Not Always Get Them But the Journey
Will Take You To Some Exciting Places. You will discover new
dreams along the way to enrich your life. Dreams keep us alive.
They won t all work out, but they can give positive energy to
enhance daily living.
Open To Your Inner Voice. You can develop a deep sense of
wisdom with in you, by listening to your conscience and your
Higher Power. There is a part of you that knows what the right
thing is to do in any given situation. Listen to it and you
will become a person of integrity.
The One Minute Praising and Reprimand Methods
two positive discipline ideas from The One Minute Mother
and The One Minute Father by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer
Johnson. Get one of these books for your reference library!
Your Child Immediately. Catch Your Child Being Good And Tell
His World About It!
- 1. Tell
him what he did right. Be very specific.
- 2. Tell
him how you feel about what he did and how it effects the
family in a positive way. ( I feel pleased, elated, great,
etc. that you get your homework done all on your own. You
do your job just like I do mine and that's what families are
about. We support each other and let each other know about
a job well done.)
- 3. Stop
and pause for a minute to let your child feel how good you
- 4. Encourage
him to do more of the same good efforts.
- 5. Shake
hands, give a high five, shoulder pat or hug.
- 6. Lynne
s version: I'd add: Teach your child to praise himself. "Tell
yourself to pat yourself on the back. Tell yourself 'Good
job!' Notice how good you feel when you get your work done."
If your child learns to internalize the positive parent voice
when he does something well, he will not be dependent on outside
Limits On Your Anger Outbreaks Use The One Minute Reprimand
Books About Anger
- 1. Tell
your child beforehand that you are going to let him know in
no uncertain terms how he is doing.
- 2. Reprimand
your child immediately. Tell him specifically what he did
wrong in ONE SENTENCE!
- 3. Tell
him how disappointed, upset, sad, frustrated, angry (choose
one emotion only)
- 4. Stop
and let it sink in. Allow a half moment of uncomfortable silence
where he gets how you feel.
- 5. Shake
hands, or touch him in a way that lets him know that you are
on his side despite your upset feelings.
- 6. Remind
him how much you value him, what a cool person he is, etc.
- 7. Reaffirm
that you think well of him, but not his performance. (You
area a great kid who messed up!)
- 8. Remind
him that you realize he will make a better choice next time.
- 9. Let
it go. No lectures. No more. Just stop. Realize when the reprimand
is over, it's over.
- 10. Leave
with you believing in him and his ability to make good choices
next time. (Smiling, not moralizing.)
- The Mad
Family Gets Their Mads Out (my book) $12.50 ppd. from Talk,
Trust & Feel, 1120 Buchanan Ave., Charleston, IL 61920. This
book teaches children how to express their feelings. View
- The Challenging
Child, by Stan Greenspan
The Strong Willed Child by Rex Forehand
- The Strong
Willed Child by James Dobson.
Parenting by Beverly Guhl and Don Fontenelle
Indigo Children by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober www.indigochild.com has some intriguing
ideas for working with the type of child who marches to his
own drum and thinks differently. They require a different type
of discipline and education. The book makes the point that today
s children are so instilled in technology that they think differently
than the generations that came before. The constant use of computers
from an early age has changed them into left brain thinkers
with their right brains underdeveloped.
Children come into the world with a sense of royalty and a feeling
of deserving to be here. They have good sense of self, but question
unjust authority. They get frustrated with ritualized systems
that are designed to meet the needs of others. They do not respond
to discipline techniques which involve guilt and force. They
require reasoning and being given a chance to work out their
own solutions to misbehavior. Some have a high level of energy.
They are very bright and often have better, higher level ideas
to work out problems. They challenge ridiculous adult behavior.
These children need discipline techniques which emphasize respect
on parenting the Indigo Child, explore these books:
in Control--How to Get Your Children to Behave by Gregory
with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinda
- The Life
That You Were Born to Live by Dan Millman
to Distraction by Edward Hallowell,
Your Hyperactive ADD Child by John Taylor
- The A.
D. D. Book by William Spears and Lynda Thompson
anger management for your own life. If you have a temper, get
some help through therapy or an anger management class. Children
absorb what they see and hear. Model appropriate use of anger
for your child.
web pages on Children of Entitlement
and the Right Man/Woman Theory. Read my articles listed under
Why Did Johnny Kill? School
Violence Explained--A Report for Educators and Reporters. Make
a copy of this report to give to your child's principal, teacher
or guidance counselor.
my pages on anger management until it really sinks in. Keep
going back to the web site as I will be adding updates.
blessings to your family,
Trust and Feel Catalog
featuring anger management curriculums for children