Monday, April 2, 2012

What Do You Think?: Anger Management


Kimberly, a 5th grader, was known as the “leader” of her friends. No one ever challenged Kimberly because she angered easily. One day during lunch, when all the girls finished their food, they thought they’d play freeze tag. Kimberly didn’t want to play freeze tag; she wanted to play dodge ball, but her friends started to gather people for freeze tag anyways. Kimberly started yelling and told them they weren’t friends anymore. She then kicked the ball to the other side of the playground and walked away.

After school, Kimberly got on the bus to go home, ignoring her friends. At home, her mom told her to start her homework while she prepared dinner. Kimberly yelled back at her mom, “I don’t want to do any homework! It’s dumb!” Kimberly ran into the bedroom, slammed the door shut and started throwing stuff.

Questions for Discussion

1. Why do you think Kimberly got so mad at her friends? How could she have reacted differently to maybe get them to play dodge ball?

2. Have you ever felt angry at someone? Who was it? How did you handle it?

3. Was it okay for Kimberly to get mad at her mom? Why or why not?

4. What did you think of how angry Kimberly got? Were her reactions appropriate?

5. Who do you think you can help Kimberly with her anger? Who do you go to for help when you’re angry?


** According to BBC News almost 1/3 of 2,000 people polled had a friend or family member that struggled with anger. 

** The Mental Heath Foundation says that anger is often only dealt with after a violent crime is committed. Since this fact is alarming they highly recommend early education and intervention for anger management. 

** Chronic and intense anger has been linked to heart disease, cancer, stroke, colds and flu as well as depression, self-harm and substance misuse. High levels of stress inevitably take their toll on the immune system. 

** 12% of people polled say they have trouble controlling their anger. 1 in 4 worry about how angry they get. 64% think they get anger than anyone else in the room. 

** Myths about Anger Management: 

1. Venting helps get out the rage. It actually reinforces that pattern. 

2. Strong words are needed to get peoples attention. Calm clear speech is much more effective. How would you like to be spoken to? 

3. If I am not mad I don't care. There are many ways to show that in a much kinder and considerate way.

4. If I back down the other person is right. Debate does not need to be heated or angry and you certainly still have the right to defend your point. 

** Self awareness is very important to be able to create self control, both of these are keys to be able to work on anger management issues. Learn about yourself so that you can find inner peace, everything else will become much more manageable from that point. 

** Yoga and mediation may be an extremely effective way to find an inner calm place to go when dealing with anger. 

** Diversion therapy suggests removing your anger from your body literally by perhaps hitting a pillow, kicking a punching bag, or screaming into a pillow. 

** Expression therapy is a similar activity that is popular in Japan where "stress bars" have popped up that allow you to throw objects to relieve your angst. 

** Suppression therapy is using techniques such as counting to 10 or deep breathing to remove your self from the moment when the anger is building. 

** Traditional therapy and communication are highly recommended to get to the route of the anger.  

How mentors can help:

** Allow your mentee to calmly communicate what their real life problems are. Build a safe space for them to talk with you. 

** Practice mediation techniques together. 

** Teach your mentee stress points on their body so they can give themselves mini-massages when anger starts to build to cut off the stress. 

** Use humor. Teasing or kidding can often defuse an angry situation and allow a child to "save face." Don't use humor to ridicule your child; use it to make fun of the situation. 

** Provide physical outlets and exercise. Play a sport, work out at the gym, cut wood, clean, etc. Kids need physical activity to let off steam. 

** Praise positive behavior. Children strive for attention in whatever form it comes-even negative attention. So be on the lookout for those positive things your mentee does and give your attention to those.

** Teach your mentee how to step back. One of the healthiest responses to anger is to step back long enough to rethink the situation, calm down and determine what to do next. Also, teach them how to use self-talk. Try things like counting to ten, taking deep breaths, and saying to themselves, "I'm okay, just stay calm" and "I can handle this."

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