- Anger Management Strategies
- Anger Mountain (elementary)
- Anger Tips for Teens
- Coping Skills
- Self-Care for Teens
- Solving Problems (elementary)
- Stress Techniques
- Student Videos
- Teen Stress
- Other Resources
With school violence and bullying making headlines on a regular basis, teachers and parents need a toolbox of strategies to help children manage difficult emotions like anger before they escalate into problems. In today’s post, we bring you a few helpful tips you can share with your students to help them defuse, reduce, or redirect anger. Excerpted from the social-emotional learning curriculum Merrell’s Strong Kids, these strategies were developed for students in Grades 3-5, but can easily be used with older students, too.
This activity can be used to help students explore what happened before the meltdown and explore the underlying cause of their anger. The below image helps students see that anger is a secondary emotion. This means anger is an emotional reaction we have to other emotions. See the image below. Anger is the emotion that surfaces, but there are deeper emotions connected just beneath the surface.
Identify the negative thought patterns that trigger your temper
● Overgeneralizing. For example, "You ALWAYS interrupt me. You NEVER consider my needs. EVERYONE disrespects me. I NEVER get the credit I deserve."
● Obsessing on "shoulds" and "musts." Having a rigid view of the way things should or must be and getting angry when reality doesn't line up with this vision.
● Collecting straws. Looking for things to get upset about, usually while overlooking or blowing past anything positive. Letting these small irritations build and build until you reach the "final straw" and explode, often over something relatively minor.
● Blaming. When anything bad happens or something goes wrong, it's always someone else's fault. You blame others for the things that happen to you rather than taking responsibility for your own life.
Take five if things get too heated
If your anger seems to be spiraling out of control, remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes or for as long as it takes you to cool down. A as for a break or talk a walk,, or a few minutes listening to some music should allow you to calm down, release pent up emotion, and reset. Then approach the situation with a cooler head.
Give yourself a reality check
When you start getting upset about something, take a moment to think about the situation. Ask yourself:
● How important is it in the grand scheme of things?
● Is it really worth getting angry about it?
● Is it worth ruining the rest of my day?
● Is my response appropriate to the situation?
● Is there anything I can do about it?
● Is taking action worth my time?
Quick tips for cooling down
Focus on the physical sensations of anger.
Take some deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counteract rising tension. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs.
Exercise. A brisk walk around the block is a great idea. It releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head.
Use your senses. Take advantage of the relaxing power of your sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste like a grounding exercise. You might try listening to music or picturing yourself in a favorite place.
Stretch or massage areas of tension. Roll your shoulders if you are tensing them, for example, or gently massage your neck and scalp.
Why You Should Care About Coping Skills
See how coping skills can help you work through your stress. Here's a list of 99 coping skills.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Stop, Look, and Think. Students define the problem. As they read, they look at the pictures and text for clues, searching for information and asking, “What is important and what is not?” Social problem-solving aspect: Students look for signs of feelings in others’ faces, postures, and tone of voice.
At a Glance
High school pressures can be extra stressful for kids who learn and think differently.
They might feel more anxious and worried than other kids their age.
You can help relieve some of your child’s stress and build confidence.