Thursday, February 4, 2010

Therapy Thursday - Dealing with Temper Tantrums

Dealing with temper tantrums are  never easy. I am constantly trying to improve how I handle the situation when it arises. Some situations are better than others.

To help me manage when these incidents happen, my therapist recommended a book to deal with my daughter's anger, "What To Do When Your Tempers Flares."

After last week's incident where my daughter insisted on going to Game Stop on a school night and just wouldn't let it go,  I decided to pull the book out and address and hopefully gain some control over her anger.

When I pulled the book out and she read the title, she asked "are we reading the book because of my temper tantrum?" She is soo perceptive.

"Yes, I thought we could read it together and see if it helps us both deal with our anger. You know sometimes mommy loses her temper, too" I said.

"Okay, good idea," she replied shaking her head in agreement.

Although the book is recommended for ages 6-12, you really need to read each chapter to see if it's appropriate for your child. Some of the situations are best for older kids and frankly you will probably spend a lot of time explaining the words. We skipped Chapter One "In the Driver's Seat" (we don't have  car so the example would be lost on my daughter) and proceeded to Chapter Two "A Secret About Anger." I'll bet you are dying to know the secret. Sorry, you have to wait.

I liked that chapter is interactive in that the exercises require the child to answer several questions as you move through the chapter.

  • Think of words that all mean "angry." Good exercise but some of the written words were all new to my daughter so we had to get over the hurdle of explaining words like  irritated, seething, enraged.. 
  • Write down things that make you mad - This was an eye-opener. My daughter wrote "you say mean things, you yell at me, you don't give me hugs and kisses (this one I need to explain and yes I feel bad because at some point my daughter will not want to hug and kiss me but she is always (I mean always) wanting a hug and kisses.) 
  • Situations where someone takes your last cookie or if the teacher gives you homework over vacation. How does it make you feel and what are the thoughts in your head? 
So what is the big secret of the chapter?  Others don't cause you to be angry, its your thoughts that make you angry.
My daughter did get the concept of thoughts making you angry so that's good. Now when she gets a little angry, I reinforce the concept "remember it's not ... that makes you angry, your thoughts are making you angry."

All in all, I like the book. I will have to find time to get to the next chapter. 


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