I confess: I’m a book addict. I blame it on my mom. She always had a book in her hand. When I was young, trips to the library was as common as trips to the grocery store. My mom’s love of books was infectious. I was hooked young and there is no hope of rehabilitation.
So here I am a book addict with a job that encourages the accumulation of great books. In my pursuit of finding the perfect resources, I have come across some duds. Do you know the saying: you have to kiss some frogs before you find your prince? Well, I hope to save you a few slimy smooches so you can just skip ahead to the ones worthy of your professional bookshelf.
Introduce Anger & Anger Management with these great picture books:
Reading simple picture books is a great way to introduce anger management to young children. Academic benefits aside, children are able to process difficult subjects more easily when they are not the center of the difficulty and reading about a fictional character allows them to do just that.
Bibliotherapy is a great way to assess a child’s readiness to explore subject matter and to assess their prior knowledge. There is a big difference in helping a child that doesn’t know many coping strategies in comparison to helping a child that lacks impulse control.
Take for instance Spinky Sulks. Spinky is a boy who gets really grumpy when things don’t go his way. As Spinky grumbles, his way towards a better attitude, children are encouraged to suggest what Spinky should have done or what he should do next. If a child lists coping strategies, I know that we can use these alternative choices as a starting point. However, the child cannot identify any strategies then I know that we need to start with learning alternative choices.
How-to-Books for Kids & Teens:
Older students respond best when they feel as though they are in control of their actions. Imagine, if you will, an angry child knocking items off of shelves or throwing things across the room. Maybe you don’t have to imagine it-maybe you have experience it first hand.
When a child (or anyone for that matter) is displaying such aggressive behavior, they are showing that they are no longer in control of themselves.While it is very tempting to try and talk the child into a calmer state, the words we speak in that moment are more likely going to enrage the child further.
Think about it: if try to tell the child what they should or should not do, we are implying that they are purposefully acting out of control. Now I know that you maybe thinking that they are purposefully acting up to gain attention or as a means of avoidance. I believe that all behavior is a means of communication. However, I also believe that if given the choice of communicating appropriately or displaying a fit of rage children would much rather remain in control of themselves.
Remember the adage: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? This old saying is especially true in the case of anger management. Providing children with tools and strategies to manage anger before they become overwhelmed with anger will greatly reduce anger outbursts and frustration.
The “How-to-Books” above are written directly to children/teens. Although the books are written with upper elementary/middle school students in mind, I have used parts of them with younger children and I also had them out on my bookshelf when I taught in a self-contained class for students with emotional impairments.
The books’ humor and down to Earth approach breaks through some of the resistance children have in terms of talking about their anger. Many children feel that anger is akin to being in trouble. After students learn that anger is just a feeling that needs to be managed they are able to move past their defensiveness and become more open to trying some of the strategies presented in the books they have read.
What to Do When Your Temper Flares is a great workbook that allows children to learn about anger and anger management strategies at their own pace. This workbook is a must have in any counseling office. The analogies and journaling/drawing prompts are wonderful conversation starters.
What to Do When Your Temper Flares worked great as bell work in my special ed classroom! I had 10 students for reading comprehension which allowed great group discussions based on their bell work. You know that sweet spot when everything is clicking just right in the classroom? Yup, it was like that!
Resources for Professionals:
The following resources are filled with reproducible worksheets and activities for helping children manage their anger. I continually pull from A Volcano in My Tummy, Seeing Red, and Coping with Conflict time and time again.
I hope you find these books as helpful as I have! What books do you go to over and over again? What’s your favorite anger management book?
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