How to get rid of your anger. Tips from my 7 year old.

by Alissa Marquess on November 1, 2012

“Follow these tips carefully and the angry will really start to go away.”

Anger tips to mom from a seven year old

My seven year old, honestly, is often more level headed than the rest of us in this family.  Today he wanted to help me tell “angry moms how to get unmad.”  We did a little interview, which I’ve edited down to the key parts.

I found it very interesting that he compared screaming to hitting and that he seemed to be unable to combine ‘a parent being really mad’ with ‘a parent wanting to get across an important point’.  These, in his mind are definitely two separate things.

While logically I know that once I start yelling no learning is taking place, talking with him sure drove home that point.

Mama: What happens when I yell at you?

James: It can feel really bad, just about as bad as your brother hitting you or something like that. Screaming can feel like that.

What should moms do if they’re really mad?

  • One of the best things to do is scrunch up your entire face. All you anger is headed to your mind or brain and you’re going to want to scrunch up your face and then unscrunch it really gently so the anger doesn’t get into your mind and it just falls to the floor and breaks.  Then take a deep breath, it always helps.
  • Try to leave the room and sit down in your bedroom alone for a few seconds.
  • If you like coloring and they’ve [your kids] done something you don’t like you can head to wherever you color and color something for a few minutes.

Any other ideas?

Try not to scream at your kids because you can easily get screamed back at and it will hurt your ears.

When you’re yelling you’re usually going to want to use my scrunch up the face idea.

And if you feel like screaming you should try not to, but if you do, try to remember to go to your bedroom for a few minutes alone.

Anger tips from a seven year old to his mom

 

What if parents have something really important they want to tell their kids?

If you’re trying to tell your kids not to hit, but they keep hitting, spanking them or hitting them or really loudly yelling doesn’t work.  What you want to do is tell them to go clean up five things.  That’s something that can help you tell them you’re serious and it can’t hurt them in any way. So every time your kids hit or if it turns into a fight, ask them to pick up five things if they can’t figure out a solution.

Ok so, think we’re done….?

Yes, so those are some of my suggestions of how to get rid of anger in yourself.

The scrunch your face idea comes from Angry Octopus which is on a CD I listen to sometimes, and the other ideas I just thought of, but they should work because they give you a bit of time out to think about things.

(Mama speaking: I linked to the CD he’s talking about; it’s a great one to help kids learn to calm down.  The boys like to listen to it before bed.)

Thanks James!

What do you think?

I found it very interesting to hear him say, that yelling feels like when his brother hits him and that our pick up five items routine, “…tells them you’re serious and can’t hurt them in any way.”  As if I didn’t have motivation enough to get rid of yelling, it’s sobering to hear it lumped together with hitting TWICE in one interview.

Yikes.  I better add the scrunch-up-my-face idea to my calm down tools…

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah November 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Nice! Give him a kiss from a loyal mama reader. It IS interesting to hear that yelling feels like hitting. I’ve just finished a month of heinous freelance writing deadlines, and I could tell how much my lack of attention was getting to everyone. No time for me, and no time for my boy (or husband). I have been tryyyying to turn off my phone and listen more, and to get down on the floor for puzzles and coloring and his insane rock obsession, and that kind of time and attention makes yelling unnecessary for both of us. The worst is at bedtime, and I have decided that zooming through our stories and rituals before rushing back to my computer leads to yelling–from both of us. He yells for more books, more songs, more cuddling, and I yell for him to go to sleep…not so effective. So now, pre-bedtime is 100% our time, and wow, no more yelling from either of us.

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Jennifer Miller November 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm

This is so sweet and sobering. I have a 4yo boy whose name is James. He’s the sweetest little boy and it’s because of his wisdom that I’ve learned I have an anger problem. There’s nothing more earth shattering than to hear your baby boy say “When you talk like that to me you are breakin’ my heart, Mama!” It’s been a long battle but things are better now. I am going to add the Scrunched-Up Face Technique!!!!! And I love the permission to go color for a few minutes. ;)

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Christy Pessemier November 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Great post. Thanks for sharing this! Kids are sometimes the best teachers on how to behave. I totally agree with your son on how it affects kids when they are spanked. My husband and I don’t spank our kids, even though we were spanked as children. I think a lot of people will be inspired by this!

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Dawn @ PricklyMom November 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Hey Alissa, I think this has to be the best post I have ever read (and I was a web editor in my “former life”)! It’s funny, it’s poignant, it’s creative, thought-provoking, and most of all, TRUE!! You gotta get that kid of yours to collaborate with you on a parenting book! :)

Seriously, his point of view is priceless. You might be on to something here. Thank you so much.

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Mo November 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Awesome! I love the face scrnching idea. I know that I jst won’t be able to take myself seriously whilst doing that and will probably want to giggle! Giggling surely diffuses any negative emotion! Thanks to yo and yor son for sharing this.
Mo ?

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Jessica Lynn November 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Very wise young man. I think all us mommas can take heed :)

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Karen M November 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Wow! I had a bad day with my 7 year old daughter with a whole lot of screaming/yelling. I am now in tears. Tell your son that there will be more scrunching of faces in my house hold! :) Thank you very much for your very wise advice!!! God bless!

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Sarah November 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Thank you for putting this kid into the world. I love his idea of five toy pick up for hitting.

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jennifer November 1, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I have to give you a lot of credit for posting this! Not only is it beautiful wisdom from someone so young, but it could also be misinterpreted. You are bold in a way that honors your kids! Well done!

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Laura November 2, 2012 at 8:07 am

This is so excellent! Will you please ask your son what he thinks I should when my 2 year old is having a temper tantrum and can’t calm herself down? Seriously! I need expert advice ’cause what’ I’m doing isn’t working!!!

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Dustin April 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

Sometimes we just gotta let it all out. You know. Hard to let it go on and on in the grocery store, but, wow, when we can. . . . . just let it all out.
Trying to stop the tantrum makes the adult even more stressed out. Just take calm, deep breaths, and remember that a child that is 2 years old, are surely going to act like a 2 year old.
If we must say something, simply recognizing the emotion is often the best thing we can do.

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Shannon April 7, 2013 at 4:52 am

For some great information on toddler tantrums and how to handle them, check out Janet Lansbury. This approach has helped me (and my 2 year old son) immensely. http://www.janetlansbury.com/2010/10/toddler-tantrums-whos-in-control/

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Alissa Marquess April 7, 2013 at 6:56 am

I love Janet Lansbury, thank Shannon!

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PEGGY April 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I took my 2 year old niece to the store once. Her mom told me she could have either a piece of candy or a drink, but not both. She didn’t agree, and when I told her if she argued, she’d get neither, she started to scream. Everybody around me tensed up, but I looked at her calmly and told her “You can scream all you like, but you’re not impressing me. You still won’t get anything.” She immediately went quiet and stared at me in a bewildered manner. I knew her parents always yelled back at her, which I thought was the dumbest thing I’d ever seen. After a minute of staring, she asked very politely if she could have a drink. I said “Yes, you may, and what do you say now?” “Thank you,” she responded. “You’re welcome,” I replied and we left a store full of strangers staring after us. I have never let a child run with a tantrum. If they want something, they learn quickly that my buttons don’t get pushed by loud noises. I once had a little girl hold her breath to get what she wanted, but after I let her pass out the first time she pulled it on me, she never did it again. If you can’t remain calm when a creature barely up to your knees makes loud noises, you’d better learn. I have spanked a few older children when they hurt other children, but never when angry and never more than five licks. I have unnerved a few by telling them, “Stay out of my reach, because if I touch you, I’ll hurt you, I’m so angry!” But every child I ever watched over trusted me completely, because they knew I would always do my best to keep them from being hurt and that I was always interested in anything they had to say. Their yelling, no matter what age, soon turned to telling me their concerns in a quiet voice, because they knew I would always take them seriously and do my best to help. Take time for your children. They are more important than earning money, a clean house, or groceries in the pantry.

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Patricia Hope April 9, 2013 at 4:40 am

It’s good that you keep calm in the face of a tantrum.
When you consider that a tantrum is just a way of communicating by a little person who is experiencing extreme emotions, you’ll feel empathy for them.
Giving them loving attention at this time won’t ‘reinforce’ the tantrum. It will help them feel connected and respected. You could reflect back to them what you observe (with love) – like “I see you’re upset because you want both the dink and the candy, and I’m not letting you.” This way they will feel heard and respected and respect you for it too.

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Melanie November 2, 2012 at 9:11 am

Thanks for sharing! Love his point of view and it’s great to remember that words hurt just as much as physical pain. And I agree with Laura – ask him how to handle 2-year-old temper tantrums because he’s not old enough to pick up 5 things but we will try that when he’s older.

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Celine November 3, 2012 at 8:12 am

Wow that was awesome. Wise little one. I’ve always felt that kids are full of wisdom. It takes a wise parent to actuallly let the children’s wisdom be heard. Thanks for that!

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Mel@TheDizzyMom November 12, 2012 at 1:25 am

Ah kids are more wise than we give them credit for. This was great. It’s nice to hear things from the other side.

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Melissa November 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Kids know more than we think, huh? I started a series of posts this week on PMS craziness, and just found your posts here. So helpful!! I hope to share with my readers so they can benefit too!

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Ratih February 13, 2013 at 10:39 am

yelling, crying, spanking .. those are my daily “activities” while dealing with my 11yo son.
Once he said, “you’re just like a monster, mom’… :(
Thanks God n to you both, I find this article. Now I know how it feels.

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ceej April 6, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Scrunching up your face sounds like something I will try! I noticed just yesterday that in that moment just before I was about to yell out of anger I looked my son straight in the face and I copied his face (a very serious, angry, 3 yr old face) and then we very slowly connected and started making extremely ridiculous, tongue sticking out, rolling our eyes back kind of faces and it ended in a big laugh and a tight hug. Who said that Laughter was the best medicine? I believe it.

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Alissa Marquess April 7, 2013 at 6:58 am

Wow, what a great idea to copy his face…I think that might help me pause long enough to get it under control and reconnect.

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Celeste April 7, 2013 at 5:28 am

As a child I was yelled at most of my life and I can’t stand the sound of yelling to this day! I agree w/ him–I do feel as though I’ve been hit when someone yells at me. He’s a smart young man w/ amazing ideas!

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Alissa Marquess April 7, 2013 at 6:56 am

Yeah, the comparison to hitting was a little hard for me to hear, because I feel so bad for yelling…good thing that along with being smart he is forgiving of my imperfections.

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kelly April 7, 2013 at 11:24 am

I agree with him that coloring is soothing. I have a brand new pack of color markers and I’m not afraid to use them! Great advice!

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arren05 April 8, 2013 at 5:07 am

Hi There, I really enjoyed reading your article but when you talked about getting the children to pick up five things, i became a little confused. If my son is not listening to me and he has perhaps hit his sister, How can i go about asking him to pick up 5 things if he is not ready to listen.

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Patricia Hope April 9, 2013 at 4:43 am

It makes sense that yelling feel like hitting because it’s all energy. It is hitting but without the physical hand.

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Alissa Marquess April 9, 2013 at 11:10 am

Agreed.

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Jennifer Fink April 15, 2013 at 7:40 am

Wow. I have tears in my eyes from the simple wisdom of your 7-yr-old.

I’m going to link to your post on my blog. And I’m going to try like hell to remember your son’s words when I get mad at my own boys.

Thank you for one of the most important blog posts I’ve ever read.

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Alissa Marquess April 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Thanks so much Jennifer. I’m very glad I asked him about it and I feel privileged to learn from these wise kiddos of mine.

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Sherry May 9, 2013 at 10:10 am

Wow! This is pretty powerful stuff. I will definitely have to keep it in mind.

I have a 10 year old who struggles with anger sometimes, so I’m checking out the Angry Octopus CD. Sounds like it might help him.

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Jackie Dishner October 4, 2013 at 7:10 am

Brilliant! Wish I had these lessons when my kids were little. Sharing with them now, since they have kids.

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Ariadne - Positive Parenting Connection March 8, 2014 at 12:49 am

How very wonderful that your son felt safe to tell the truth like this – so powerful! Sharing on the positive parenting connection page!

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