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What are acceptable ways of expressing anger?

615 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  josephine_e
I'm the one who has posted about pushing baby bro and how to enforce the non-negotiables. Now I want to know what others feel are acceptable ways to express anger. I need this for myslef and to teach DS. I have given him alternatives and I don't think he has used any of them. One week I felt we had a break through and as he was freaking out he said "I need a minute to calm down!" It brought tears to my eyes. He seemed so grown up and I was so proud of him. It totally helped me disengage, too.
Anyway, ideas for acceptable ways to express anger.
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when my step daughter gets angry i tell her getting angry is not going to solve your porblem its only going to make it worse...

I found a few articles maybe you might find helpful...
(this one is like anger management for kids)
(this one has 6 ideas)
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How about toddlers? I read that if they want to hit, to let them hit a pillow. Is there anything else?

Originally Posted by justamom2
when my step daughter gets angry i tell her getting angry is not going to solve your porblem its only going to make it worse...
That may be true in some instances but sometimes anger can help us make a necessary change. Anger is a real part of life, for children as for adults, and when your dsd is already angry, denying her feelings could make her feel misunderstood and confused, more angry, and bad about herself, thinking she's wrong for having those feelings. So it seems, as the OP asked about, the issue is helping her express it in a way that is acceptable, not telling her not to feel something that is completely normal to feel. I would empathize with her and then help her solve her problem that is causing the anger. BTW, thanks for the links. Here are some more: (not specifically for children - meant more for parents - but same principles apply!)

For me, the rules are - as long as it doesn't hurt anyone or any property, any way of expressing anger is more or less acceptable. However there are some ways that are more constructive and healing than others. Yelling seems to help my daughter, so does throwing a ball. But these are not ideal, because they still feel violent and sometimes cause her adrenaline to shoot up again. If she can calm down a little, she finds it helpful to breathe deeply and close her eyes, or to say a kind of positive mantra that helps her relax "i can be calm" or something like this. Then we can talk about what happened and try to evaluate her actual need/problem. I have an explosive child (not a toddler) and it is really hard, because she wants to be violent (and often is) but we are working on proper expression every day.
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In our family we have several ways to express anger; saying "I need space", using words to say that you are angry or what you are angry about, stomping our feet, we walk away if we feel like hurting someone else, and having time to cry or pout when things don't go your way are some of them. We also read a book at story time at the library about Mean Soup where the child has a bad day and mom makes soup and screams into the pot and then the kid does and that may be a way we try when she is older and has so much anger that she needs to be loud about it. It takes a long time to remember to do something different about anger so be sure to allow for a learning curve and point out when and how he does a good job of expressing himself in appropriate ways.
i haven't gotten to the point with dd yet where she's really expressing her anger except by crying and needing me to hold her. i have told her that she can hit things, not people (the door, the couch, etc.) ... but one thing that really helps me calm down when i'm starting to get angry/frustrated is just to say it. i get down on dd's eye level, ask her to "show me your eyes" and explain very simply that i feel angry (i usually say "frustrated" actually, because that's usually a little more accurate). then a lot of times i'll pick her up and she'll give me a hug. all of the sudden, i realize that there wasn't that much to be angry about in the first place, and whatever there was can be worked out constructively ("will you help me pick up this mess, now, so we can both feel better?") ... btw, this approach almost always works in the exact same way with dh!
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