When my anger's over
may the world be young again
as after rain —
the cool clean promise
and the dance
of branches glistening green
— Raymond John Baughan, in Day of Promise: Collected Meditations, Kathleen Montgomery, ed. (Skinner House, 2001); used with permission
IN TODAY'S SESSION... the children learned from our third Unitarian Universalist Source, "the ethical and spiritual wisdom of the world's religions," using a Buddhist story to consider anger, with love. The children used non-verbal communication to express anger and empathy. They made Calming Beads and learned how to use them.
We affirmed that anger is a normal, healthy feeling. While not particularly pleasant, it is our body's way of alerting us to problems. Anger can give us the energy we need to right wrongs. Nevertheless, as you know, it can get too big. Raging out of control, anger can be expressed in hurtful ways and hurts the person holding it. Children learned to recognize their anger, reduce its hold on them, and harness it constructively.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... how we respond with love to our own anger, and to others who are angry. Ask your child(ren) about:
- How the Buddha responded to anger in the story children heard today
- What we can learn about anger from the third Unitarian Universalist Source, "wisdom from world religions"
- The Calming Beads children made, and how to use them
- Ways they know to respond to someone who is angry, or what they do when they are angry.
EXTEND THE TOPIC. Try...
Family Adventure. Today children explored what happens to us when we get angry. We also need to know how to control our anger. On the Tapestry of Faith website, find a handout, Three Choices to Reduce Anger. Developed for this session's Faith in Action activity, the handout describes three strategies children (and adults) can use to slow down the body's reaction to anger. Try the strategies together and talk about when and how you can use them.
Family Discovery. Explore these online resources:
Great information on the KidsHealth website about all kinds of issues related to being and feeling healthy.
The website of Seattle-based Committee for Children offers information, curricula, and videos on violence prevention, impulse control, and conflict resolution for use in K-8 classrooms, and links to fiction for children, arranged by age and grade, on topics including impulse control, anger buttons, identifying feelings, problem solving, and keeping out of a fight.
Parents Anonymous is a well-established family strengthening program designed to help all parents find ways to manage their own anger and create a safe nurturing home environment for their kids. Parents Anonymous groups meet in communities throughout the United States. Anyone in a parenting role can join at any time and can attend for as long as they wish.
Books with stories and guidance about anger management include: Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents by Sarah Conover (Eastern Washington University Press, 2001), What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Problems With Anger by Dawn Huebner (Magination Press, 2008), A Volcano in My Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger by Elaine Whitehouse and Warwick Pudney (New Society Publishers, 1996), and How to Take the Grrr Out of Anger by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisoviskis (Free Spirit Publishing, 2003).
A Family Ritual. Buddhist practice includes meditation. Try meditation as a family, perhaps guiding simple stretching or movements followed by a few minutes of silence. You will find that this serves your children well prior to devoted time to concentration, for example, homework.