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Parents' Guide: Sam Gets Mad and Calms Down

Message: Getting anger out in a healthy way helps you feel better.

Doing something that helps you calm down is a healthy way to deal with being mad. When you are calm, your body feels better; you feel happier; and you can think better. When you are calm, you get along better with family and friends.

  • What did Sam do to feel better when she was mad?
  • Do you think breathing deep could help you calm down when you are mad? Will you try taking 3 deep breaths the next time you feel mad?
  • What else does Sam do to make her body feel better when she's mad? Could you do that, too? Would it make you feel better?
  • What makes you feel calm and good?

Parenting Tip: Being mad can make it hard to think. Help your child be ready to handle anger next time. Talk about situations that trigger your child's anger and play the "What if" game based on some of those scenarios: "What if this happened? What would you do?"

Help him figure out how he can avoid getting mad and what he can do to calm down if he does gets mad. Then he will be better able to make healthy choices about whatever made him mad.

Reinforce the Message: Feeling Better When You Feel Mad

Children learn how to handle anger by watching what their parents do -- including when that anger is directed at them. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I handle stress?
  • What does my child see me doing when I am mad or upset?
  • How do I react when my child makes me mad?
  • What can I do to set a good example?

Use incidents in your life to talk to your child about feeling mad and how to respond. You might say something like, "I am feeling mad right now, so I am going to take a few minutes by myself to calm down."

You can also show your child that sometimes talking to others about your mad feelings can make you feel better. You can tell your child, "I'm going to call a friend to talk about what made me mad today. Sometimes talking with someone else helps me know what to do next."

When your child is mad, try not to ignore her anger or demand that she stop being mad. This won't help her learn how to handle strong feelings like anger and stress. Instead, help your child find ways to release anger when she wants to strike out or explode.

Talk with your child about what is making her mad and how to solve the problem. If a young child won't talk to a person, she may be willing to talk to a stuffed animal, family pet, or imaginary friend.

WebMD Medical Reference

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