Have you ever yelled at your children? Have your children gotten angry and screamed at you or threw things? You may feel like your family is the only family that ever gets angry, but the truth is that everyone feels anger and that feeling angry is perfectly OK. But what do we do when we feel angry, or after we feel angry? We weren’t really ever taught how to deal with it, so it is important that we teach our own kids about this unique emotion.
A lot of parents shy away from showing or talking about strong emotions. We were brought up to think that emotions should be hidden. But teaching empathy and talking about our emotions is the healthiest way to take care of our minds and bodies.
So we are going to get angry. And our children are going to get angry. And that is perfectly OK. But we also talk about it and read about it.
My favorite book about anger is When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry… By Molly Bang
It’s the classic kid problem. Both kids want the same thing. How often does this happen? Every. Single. Day. About a hundred times. The classic kid response to this classic kid problem? Anger.
The description of anger is dead on. She is like a volcano, she is like a tiger. She wants to roar. She feels like she is going to explode. That is exactly how I feel.
How she deals with it. She runs. She leaves. She doesn’t hurt anyone. She breathes. She cries. She stops and she starts coming back through awareness of her surroundings. It’s like Buddha wrote this book. It is so sweet.
Connection to nature. Being outdoors. I heard someone say once that it is impossible to be angry while looking at a rainbow. Sometimes just getting outside will help with our emotions and this is exactly what Sophie does.
It’s an example of a perfect time out. Time outs are effective when they are used as a calming down strategy. The strategy is talked about before the child gets angry and is modeled by the parent. So when I get angry, I say, “I’m going to take some space like Sophie and take some deep breaths.” Then later, I can talk about how I calmed myself down and read the book again with my children. When they get really angry, I can offer, “Do you want to take some time like Sophie? Do you want to go outside by the tree like Sophie?”
Kids really relate to this book and it is perfect for teaching children about anger, emotions and empathy.