You can also check out her book, 'The Mad Family Gets the Mads Out' here.
Angry Kids: Changing the Angry Climate of Your Home
Lynne Namka, Ed. D. © 2013
A reader wrote me to ask which of my books would I recommend for an angry teenager. And then a mother called me about her explosive teenager. So here are some of my thoughts about turning anger around at home.
Parents feel so helpless when the anger monster gets out of hand in the family and zooms back and forth from one family member to the next. Here are the resources I gathered, a few mine and from others for turning the problem of teen anger into an opportunity for learning.
First we must all take responsibility for what we have created in the home. No one family is singled out—changing the atmosphere in the home is a group effort. Each person has added their piece to the dynamics of anger that has taken over. System theory (a family is a system where contagious emotions bounce back and forth) says don’t blame but challenge each person to look for solutions.
Taking responsibility for words and actions is a sign of maturity. To do this you can learn to work with our sticky feelings especially the negative ones and express the loving ones to those we care about often. Helping others to understand and express their feelings in safe and sane ways that do not hurt others or ourselves is the core of my work.
Your child will not take responsibility for his or her anger if it is being modeled for them in the home. If one or more parent is angry and fighting with the child and using old, outdated “do what I tell you because I’m the parent,”
To turn things around, the angry parent MUST take charge of his or her own anger by taking an anger management class and then doing the anger containment and release at home IN FRONT OF THE CHILD! That’s right; the parent must model positive use of anger and holding their own temper! It’s that old proverb, “Little monkey see, little monkey do.” Then little monkeys grow up to be big monkeys with children of their own and the anger and abuse continue to the next generation.
Announce: This Family is Taking a Vacation from Anger! Refuse to engage in the baiting and picking that goes on. Stop sarcasm, name calling and eye rolling. See my article on Fair Fighting at HappyHealthyLoving.com for more ideas about better ways to express anger. Own up and be the bigger person. Apologize to your child or spouse in front of the entire family for anything that you said or did that hurt them. Ask if anyone else needs to apologize but don’t push for this. Remember sincere apologies are said with true regret and an intention to change for the benefit of all. (Yelling I’m sorry is not a true apology.)
Remind each and everyone in the home that they are responsible for their anger outbursts and they can learn to express anger in ways that do not hurt others or themselves. Get the young person in anger management class or counseling of course, but it is not up to them to change the family dynamics—every single person can contribute. If one person won’t, unfortunately that’s a sign of immaturity, but the rest of you can go ahead and do things that will make a difference.
Taking a Time Out in the heat of anger is a sign of maturity. Step back, take a breath and bite your tongue to keep from adding fuel to the anger fire. Excuse yourself by saying that you have to go calm yourself down. Parental time outs model appropriate anger containment!
Learn to be silly and lighten up the mood of the home. Kids love fun. No mean teasing, but jokes, laughing at yourself, smiling at your child and spouse often, affectionate gestures are all part of creating a loving home.
Here are some small books that teach parents and children how to be an effective human being even when angry. This approach may seem simple to you but it works.
These books are cheap from $.01 to $6.97 from the online bookstores. Invest in them to shift your outlook so that things can shift at home. [Click on a book title to be taken to its Amazon page.]
The One Minute Scolding: The Amazingly Effective New Approach to Child Discipline
Gerald E. Nelson
Keeping your reprimand to one minute and saying something positive about your child before giving a correction puts the responsibility on you for keeping it light. It also keeps you from ranting and venting. This book is full of common-sense skills for discipling children and teens while raising the self esteem of both child and parents.
The One Minute Father and The One Minute Mother by Spencer Johnson
Unconditionally love the child and correct the behavior quickly. Based on the wildly popular One Minute Manager for businesses (translated into many languages and sold worldwide.) These two books for parents teach the principles of the One Minute Manager in the natural context of the parent child relationship. Based on praise first to get the attention and set the mood and then give the reprimand. (I love you, but cut that behavior out!)
Who Moved My Cheese? For Teens by Spencer Johnson
This is a small story that gives the message written in parable form: “If you keep on doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same result.” Flexibility and the ability to stop doing what doesn’t work and change directions and tactics are necessary skills for getting a happy life.
Here are some of my children’s books on learning about the correct use of feelings.
Feelings are for learning. The more you find ways to work with them and release them, the happier you and your loved ones will be. The Mad Family Gets their Mads Out has been a best seller since it came out two decades ago.
The book I wrote to explain how to release feelings for children is Goodbye Ouchies and Grouchies, Hello Happy Feelings. It is the book I wish I could have read as a confused child. It teaches The Emotional Freedom Technique which actually releases negative feelings, irrational beliefs and traumas.
My newest book, The Case of the Prickly Feelings is about a little hedgehog detective who goes on the case to find out what to do with his angry feelings that he picked up from the prickly people in his family. All my books teach different methods of letting go of negative feelings.
And finally a hilarious You Tube video by comedienne Amanda Gore: How to let People Know You Love Them, Zoot Zoot! Zooties! You and your spouse watch this video four times and then do it! Yes, do it! Yes give yourself permission to have fun and do it. Yes it is silly, but kids respond to silly. Do Gore’s wild idea often to change the sullen energy in the home. Watch her other fun videos.
Share the positive! Please pass this article on to parents, teachers, therapists, counselors and those who might be in need of this information.
A subscription to my free weekly newsletter which gives much information about anger and healthy living can be found at angriesout.com.
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