Today’s post comes from my 6-year-old daughter Lucy. Many of you know her from the big hair photo I’ve shown when she was a baby!
She’s older now and her hair doesn’t stick up anymore, but she’s still got that sweet smile and disposition.
But a few days into the summer vacation, I noticed she was flaring up with anger over small things. She needed help dealing with anger. I have a feeling that sounds familiar.
If her brother offered a suggestion, she’d yell, “I don’t need your help!!!”
If she had a small disappointment, she’d sulk big time and say things like “I hate my life.”
Whoa! Red flag waving!
Saying “I hate my life” is not acceptable for our kids to say. Life is a precious gift from God and we must teach our kids to honor that and love themselves.
So I gave Lucy an assignment to write an essay about what she could do the next time she felt angry or frustrated. She protested, “I don’t know what to write! I can’t write that much!” but I told her to sit down with her paper until her essay was complete.
Awhile later, she came up to me with a smile on her face. She was obviously proud of her essay…and upon reading it, so was I. Here’s what she wrote:
You can show this paper to your children and read it together. (You can read it to your spouse too!)
If we will follow these easy steps that even a 6-year-old can comprehend, it will help us all get a handle on anger management:
- Instead of being mad or frustrated, I will be patient.
- Instead of being mad or frustrated, I will not get angry by using self-talk (those negative things Lucy was saying about herself).
- I could count down from 10.
- I could take a deep breath.
- I will think of good things not negative things.
Lucy gave me permission to share this with you and your kids 🙂 To learn more about anger management, you can read the chapter on anger in Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World. My co-author Gary Chapman also has an excellent book on anger, Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion.