Release & Empowering your Angry Grandchild
We’ve all been there whether with our own children or now with our grandchild – when they get angry and suddenly are out of control. What do you do?
I’ve always loved Mr Rogers song about the Mad Inside
What do you do with the mad inside? It has so many insights as to how we should be working with our grandkids on discovering and understanding their anger.
Techniques to dissipate the anger
Have the Discussion BEFORE it happens – Show them the Mr Rogers video before they get angry and help them to learn the song and what it means to control them selves. Ask them questions about what it feels like when they get angry and how they get the “mad” out of them.Anger is an emotion
I am not my emotions
Help them to understand that anger is not a bad thing – that even grandma gets angry sometimes – but it’s what you do with that anger that makes all the difference
Help them to see that anger is nothing more than an emotion like happy and sad and that it won’t last forever and it’s okay to be angry and upset from time to time as long as they learn to deal with it appropriately.
Physical effects of emotions
Help them to notice what is happening to their body. When they are angry how does it feel. Ask them what is happening to your stomach, what about your throat? Help them to scan their body and identify what the anger is doing inside of them physically.
Ask them to draw what anger looks like. Notice the colors they choose and what the picture looks like. Have them describe what they are feeling.
Giving words to what they are experiencing helps them to release the physical effects that the anger is having on them
Can I help
Can I help? Ask your grandchild if there is anything you can do to help them with their anger. This may include things like a hug, turning on music, dancing with them. It never includes giving in to them for the reason they are throwing a fit. But it does mean helping them learn to deal with their emotions appropriately.
Recognize their “mad”
Letting a child know that you are aware of their anger helps them become self-aware and also lets them know that you love them because you see what is going on.
By telling them that you see how upset they are you are opening a window of opportunity to talk to them about the situation without needing to solve their problem.
Hmmm I wonder if …..
Talking to the child calmly and wondering if there is something they need – something physical that may help calm down the situation may also work.
For example I remember when my children were small and tired and crying – many times they were mad but without recognizing the reality of their tiredness. So I would play the I wonder game – which could include the following:
- I wonder if you could use a nap
- I wonder if you are just hungry
- I wonder if you need a mommy snuggle
- I wonder if you need me to read you your favorite book
I’m going to…..
Another important thing to do is to NOT react to their anger. Staying calm is so important right now. By letting your grandchild know WHAT you are doing and WHY helps them to see that you are not reacting to their tantrum. For example:
- I’m going to go to my room until you are ready to talk to me
- I’m going to give you a hug
- I’m going to sit on this chair until you stop screaming
Sometimes your grandchild needs a do-over. Let’s take a deep breath and we will count to 10 and just start over. If the child’s anger is not associated with a specific thing this may work. Many times with frustrations they jump right into their emotions without knowing why – a simple do-over may be exactly what they need to calm down.
Hold them responsible
Even though they are upset there are things that are NOT Okay to do such as:
- Throwing things
- Hitting a sibling or grandma
- Causing damage
Replace Negative emotion – Negative emotions can be exhausting and leave a little one feeling spent. One of the most important things you can do when the emotion has subsided is replace that negative emotion with positive emotions.
The ideas listed below help your grandkids get back on track faster after a melt down by replacing the negative emotions with feel good emotions.
put on some upbeat music and dance till you drop. Help them to see the joy in letting go of negative emotions and filling themselves with positive emotions.
Nature has so many healing qualities – get them outside running and playing to help them replace the negative they have been feeling.
I am statements
Have your grandkids repeat I am statements such as:
- I am amazing
- I know what to do with the mad
- I love me
- I am strong
- And anything else you can think of
Have your grandkid tell you 5 things they love about someone else. Taking the focus off of them and complimenting someone else also replaces negative emotion.
Connecting the breath
Have your grandchild sit and breathing in and out slowly say:
- Breathing in say “connecting to (childs name)
- Breathing out say (with a smile) “Releasing with a smile”
- Breath in and out over and over again until they have calmed their mind and spirit. It shouldn’t take long.
Outburst are inevitable with children, so getting some practice for both them and you is very important.
Preventative is helpful when possible but if you are caught in the heat of the moment just remember to stay calm and be proactive in helping them deal with the emotion they are experiencing and then replace the emotion when they are finished – it will almost be like magic when you see them dancing madly around after an angry outburst.
Practice makes perfect and before long your littles will be going through the process much quicker and with confidence.