I work with angry kids every day I go to work (and sometimes at home with my own 3 kiddos). We all feel anger. Anger is not bad in of itself; it’s what we do when we are angry that matters.
Anger is a secondary emotion that is displayed in an effort to protect the person from feeling other emotions that may be more uncomfortable or less socially acceptable. For instance, it may be easier to feel angry at someone who shared a secret rather than to feel embarrassed.
This poster is a great visual aid when explaining how anger works as a secondary feeling:
The chemical changes that occur in our brain when we are angry gives us a boost in adrenalin and makes us feel more powerful and confident. Remember learning about “fight or flight” in grade school? That’s the term given for the human reaction to a stressful situation. The chemical changes in our body in the moment provides us with the ability to either confront the situation (fight) or get away as fast as possible (flight). Identifying stressful situations is an excellent anger management strategy.
Example: Samantha becomes angry when she doesn’t understand an assignment. More than likely, Samantha’s feelings of frustration (primary emotion) turns into feelings of anger. Now that we know what the stressful situation is, or the “trigger”, we can begin to teacher her anger management strategies.
The anger management freebie below helps students explore social situations that could lead to feelings of anger. Identifying these triggers is a vital step in developing anger management strategies. How can someone control their angry feelings when they are not even sure what is making them angry?
I highly recommend having the child create their own “what would you do deck” where they come up with their own situations that might make children mad. Instructing my students to create cards that might help them (or other students) allows them to step outside of their own anger and view anger management from a different perspective.
While we review their deck, I have them rate how angry their situation would make them using the anger management gage. This allows me to understand the intensity of their feelings and provides me with the opportunity to point out when they are successful at managing their anger.
Example: Marcus makes a card about children getting mad when they do not get a turn on the tire swing, but he shares that this wouldn’t bother him because he would just do something different. <-Now that is success to build upon (and explore further)!
We don’t always have to focus on angry outbursts or feelings of being out of control. Nobody enjoys loosing control of themselves. Focusing on times when they were able to control their anger is a great way to build self-esteem and empower them to take further responsibility for their behavior. Who doesn’t like the feeling of success?
Click here or on the image below for the free printable:
The download above contains the first 6 cards of my 30+ Card set. You can find it by clicking here or on the image below.
If you would like more information about anger management strategies for children, check out 35 Simple Ways to Help an Angry Child.
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