Behavior Makeover: Anger

Behavior Makeover Plan
Your behavior is a living textbook to your child, so the first place to start a behavior makeover is by reflecting on your own style of responding to anger. These questions might help: How did your parents handle anger? How do you typically deal with anger? Where did you learn that style? Does it work or not work for you? How well are you modeling anger management to your child? How about other members of your family? What lessons might your kid be learning from these actions? How do you typically respond to your child's anger? Is it effective? What would you like to change? Write your thoughts, and then make a plan for how you will change.

Now it's time to take action to begin making over your child's behavior. Use your Makeover Journal to write down your thoughts and develop your plan:

  1. Take a really close look at how well your child controls anger. How our kids act is often a symptom of deeper issues. Here are a few warning signs that mean a child needs a more intensive makeover in anger. How many of these behaviors describe your child?

    Anger Warning Signs

    • Unable to explain how she is feeling when she's upset
    • Has frequent angry outbursts, even over minor issues
    • Has trouble calming down when he is frustrated or angry
    • Turns her anger into a tantrum (for example, by shouting, kicking, swearing, spitting)
    • Has difficulty bouncing back from a frustrating situation
    • Frequently fights or hits others
    • Acts without thinking and many times behaves recklessly
    • Is often sullen and silent and holds her feelings in
    • Verbalizes, writes about, or draws pictures of violent or aggressive acts

  2. Watch your kid's anger outbursts closely over the next week. Consider tracking the frequency of incidents on a chart or a calendar or in a journal. It may help you tune into what may be provoking the outbursts. What, if anything, can you do to reduce them? Write down your thoughts.

  3. Reread Step One. Notice what physiological signs your child displays immediately before he displays anger. Jot down your observations, and then share them with your kid to help him recognize his warning signs.

  4. Review Step Two. What are the potential sources of your kid's anger? List them. Which ones can be eliminated? Which ones can be dealt with? Write down your strategy for helping your child deal with inevitable sources of anger.

  5. Review Step Three. Does your kid have an adequate emotional vocabulary to express his feelings? If not, plan ways to boost this kind of vocabulary.

  6. Review Step Four, and choose an anger management strategy to teach. List the days and times you plan to designate for practice times, and then continue reviewing the technique until your kid can use it without you.

  7. The unhealthy way your kid responds to anger must be replaced. Review Step Five. What consequences will you set to help extinguish his incorrect behavior?
Anger is normal, but when you see an ongoing trend, when it starts crippling your child's relationships in your family or with others, or when you notice sudden behavior changes that aren't due to illness or medication, use your instincts and get help.

Next: Results >>

From No More Misbehavin' by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2003 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.

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