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As soon as I heard that Inside Out was coming out to purchase; I planned my entire day around going to Walmart to pick up our copy. (In case you live under a rock; Inside Out is now available for purchase so you may want to head out and purchase your own copy!)
Having a child with anger issues can be absolutely exhausting. Sometimes the anger is just that – anger – and can be redirected by distraction or another activity. But when anger becomes unsafe, it needs to be handled and redirection or distraction will not work.
We are very open with B and our journey with him. He has been diagnosed with Anxiety disorder and ADHD. It is also believed that he could possible have Oppositional Defiance Disorder. At any rate, he can become incredibly angry, incredibly fast. He will cry, scream, throw things, kick things, hit things. As we continue to seek a child therapist for him (which is a task and journey all on its own) we are working on teaching how to appropriately express anger with the help of Inside Out.
The movie Inside Out came out on Tuesday and we were there making sure we got our copy. Not only do the kids really like the movie, but it’s a great story about feelings. (You can’t teach them to control one emotion if they don’t know what all of their emotions are!)
While we were at Walmart picking up our movie, we grabbed some of the Tomy Inside Out figurines as well. Sadly for me, our Walmart only had Joy and Anger. Lucky for me, Anger was the one I really had to have. (I do wish I could have gotten all of them, but I’m excited that we now have anger!)
These figurines are really going to be helpful in helping B express his anger.
+ Be sure your child is aware of their emotions. Do they know what fear is? How does it make them feel when they are scared? What is joy? How does joy make them feel? How does sadness feel? What do they do when they are sad? Have them show you their angry face. Ask them what things make them angry. You can help them express their emotions if they aren’t really sure what they are.
+ Role play emotions and model what is acceptable behavior for emotions. If you as a parent are a yeller and hitter when angry, what do you think your child is going to do? Have some imagination and pretend time to model positive behavior.
+ Set up a place where they can use imaginative play or a sign system to share what they are feeling. You can set up the Inside Out figurines for them to role play emotions or simply sit them in the reach of the child so when they are feeling angry, fearful, joy, sad, etc.; they can take the figurine of the shelf. Not only does it alert you to their emotion, but it gives them something tactile to help calm them and possibly redirect them.
+ Be patient. As a parent, that can be so darn hard, but try your hardest to remain patient. Don’t yell. Don’t react. Remain calm and speak a level under your normal voice. I find when B is really going off, that remaining calm and speaking just a little quieter than usual can usually start to calm him. It is the days that we are on our short fuse and yell back or react that the battles can be endless.
+ Be firm. A child will not take you seriously if you are laughing or smiling while trying to redirect their anger. You can still be firm and still speak in a lower volume to get your point across (and it can be so effective!)
+ Know their triggers. I know that B gets angriest when he can’t have his way. K get angry when told what to do instead of being asked. They are human and they deserve respect to. I have found with B, if I give him two options, it helps control his anger. “You can either go to bed right now, or you can not have Kindle time tomorrow.” “You can eat all of your dinner, or you can not have dessert or snacks with the rest of the family tonight.” It gives them a say and helps reduce the reactions.
+ Do not punish the actual anger. Let them know that being angry is okay, but the act of physical aggression is not okay.
Inside Out the movie and the figurines have helped us work with B (and even A) with their anger as well as, I feel, help B be better equipped to express his anger rather than getting physical. It is still a work in progress, but by giving him tools to use to express his anger; the physical behavioral anger has decreased. It isn’t always perfect, but then again, nothing ever is!