Simmering, seething, white-hot anger. We’ve all felt anger, and our children experience it too. Angry emotions are a normal part of life, and by themselves, they aren’t a cause for concern. But acting out of anger - which can include harming people or property - is a different story, and it’s becoming more common. From a hitting toddler to a temperamental teen, here’s how to help kids keep their cool.
School, sports, after-school activities, birthday parties and social commitments - all of these things compete for your child’s energy and attention on a daily basis. And now that kids are hopping on social media at increasingly younger ages, the pressure to participate can become fierce early on. All those images of friends playing sports, hanging out at a pool party or posing together in a gleeful gaggle may cause your child to feel like their schedule doesn’t quite measure up.
One of my sweetest parenting experiences was a one-time unique participation in my teenage daughter’s clique. We mothers of this group of adolescent girlfriends planned a surprise dinner out for our girls at a restaurant where we ate and celebrated our daughters. After dessert, we presented them with blue T-shirts that read, “I Survived Dinner With My Mother.” On that special night, it was fun to again feel like part of a clique, and it brought back sweet memories of belonging to a special group of friends ‘in my day.’
The summer is an easy-going slice of life with less pressure and fewer responsibilities--it is simple to have a sunny outlook. However, even during the summer, many kids become frustrated and angry when things don’t go exactly as hoped-a rainy day causes an outdoor activity to be canceled, or a friend’s decision to attend sleep-away camp thwarts carefully crafted plans to spend the summer together. “The summer is ruined”, a child will lament, as she struggles to cope with the disappointment of that moment. Then, as summer wears on, these feelings may become amplified as she worries about whether she will get the teacher she wants, or discover that all her friends are ‘in the other class.’ “I will have the worst year ever if...,” she proclaims, unable to see beyond the perceived crisis.
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