Today's class had to do with "Coping and Cooperation" and the first half of the class had to do how to cope with anger and how to teach about the tools to deal with anger. Mostly for oneself, and how to teach those coping mechanisms to a kid. Not "make" them calm down, but let them learn how to do it themselves so that they can do it when they need to and don't have you.
With kids, the main idea with any unhappy situation is to
- Figure out what the child actually did in the situation.
- Have them know what it was they should not have done, or even have them figure it out with you. Include acknowledgment of consequences.
- Then have them work out what it was they really want to do next time.
But two things I found out that were really interesting about anger.
The first was that the anecdotal nature of memory actually can feed anger, if the "self talk" in the head really dwells on the anger. Especially if a relationship is involved, because the memory will automatically feed in all the times you got angry with that other person. And the thing is that the more one dwells on the memories, the more angry one gets. So to stop the loop, stop thinking about those other times and other reasons to be hurt and angry.
The second was the physically rigid nature of anger. That staying rigid or still makes anger even stronger, and that relaxing, stretching, or moving around will actually mitigate the emotion. Especially when it's anger from fear(fight or fight) situations. So doing a 'tighten up part of the body until it has to relax' exercise can actually lessen anger!
I had no idea.
So nearly all the "tools" they taught had to do with short circuiting either the memory route or the physical route or both. Move, stretch, breathe. Do a puzzle, count backwards, and the classic "visualize a happy place". *grin* The interesting thing is a lot of these same techniques can deal with fear, too. Same mapping kinds of things.
Yeah, most of these don't 'deal' with the cause of the anger, they're just ways of coping with the emotion and making the choice of how to react more thoughtful. Giving yourself the time to think before acting on just the emotion.