Happy bank holiday to you - although to us everyday has merged into one and it doesn't make any difference in our house that it is a bank holiday! This week would have been half term for us, I thought I'd still send some activities though, as I know that some of you are finding the ideas useful to connect with your children. We ALWAYS needs connection, even if it's a holiday!
Today I want to chat / write about anger. I know this is something that we have seen more of in our house (and not just the kids!) I've also had chats with friends experiencing the same. I just wanted to reassure you that it is normal and I wanted to share an image that I find really helpful to understand anger a bit more. It is taken from The Gottman Institute Dr John and Dr Julie Gottman are clinical psychologists and have dedicated their life's work to relationship health research.
If you have a quick look at the other emotions that can surface as anger, you can see so many underlying emotions that are being caused by the current situation; scared, overwhelmed, grief, trapped, nervous, anger, trauma, anxious, unsure, disappointed... goodness, I could go on all day. My point is that what we are experiencing, is causing all sorts of emotions to bubble under the surface and this can make us react quicker and perhaps more aggressively than normal.
You may be able to explain this to your children (if they are old enough) too. They may find it helpful to understand their outbursts which can sometimes make them scared. For example, today, I was walking while my eldest rode her bike. As she tried to turn it, the handle bars spun quickly and she was launched forwards. She wasn't hurt but she jumped off it an kicked the bike and shouted "Stupid bike, I almost fell on some glass!" I could have (and probably sometimes in other similar situations have done) told her off for kicking her bike and told her to calm down. Luckily, I caught myself quickly enough to realise that she was acting out of fear, the situation had scared her and her way of responding was with anger. I explained to her why she had kicked the bike and that although she was angry, she was acting out of fear. We talked about the anger iceberg (I've shown her the image before) and she could understand her own behaviour. Instead of the situation escalating (as it has many times before and probably many more to come! No one ever said parenting was easy!) it was actually a really lovely opportunity for connecting. We chatted about times when I've been scared and have acted angrily and how human it is.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, try to find the reason behind the anger. They may not know themselves, you may need to do a bit of detective work, perhaps what they say when they are angry will give you a clue. Also, try to validate their feelings, (I wrote about this a few weeks ago, if you didn't catch it, you can read it here) For example: "Ah that's frustrating, you flipped off your bike, that must have been scary. Sometimes when we are scared, it can make us angry, I remember a time when I was scared about ..... and it made me ....." When we feel seen and understood and loved we find it a lot easier to calm down.
So, here are my top tips for dealing with anger:
This week in the Well Being at Home Group, I'll be focusing on ideas to support dealing with anger. If you'd like to join the lovely friendly community and free group, please go here!
Hope you have a wonderfully calm week! Stay safe!
In my blog, I reflect honestly about my experiences of trying to enhance the well-being of my own children.