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Parents' Guide: Sam Gets Mad and Calms Down

upset child on chairYou can help your child learn how to respond in a healthy way when she gets mad by talking with her about the story "Sam Gets Mad and Calms Down."

Watch the story together. Then talk with your child about the main messages in the story, highlighted below. Being able to talk while you're both calm can help her learn what to do the next time she gets mad. Being able to manage feelings and moods in healthy ways is part of living a FIT lifestyle.

Message: It's normal to get mad sometimes.

Feeling mad sometimes is normal. Just like how sometimes people feel sad or scared.

  • What kinds of things make you mad?
  • What makes other people -- in your family, at school, on TV -- mad?
  • Do some things make you madder than others?
  • Is there 1 thing that makes you mad a lot?

Parenting Tip: Talking with your child about being mad will help reassure him that being mad is a normal feeling, even if it is unpleasant. Use examples from your life to show him that everyone gets angry or mad sometimes. It's no fun when you get your feelings hurt, feel left out, or don't get your way. People aren't happy all of the time. But the important thing is to know how to make healthy choices to feel better when you feel mad and how to help yourself go from being mad to feeling okay.

Message: Feeling mad may lead you to do things that get you in trouble.

Being mad can make your body feel tense and tight. Being mad can make your heart beat faster. Or it can make you hot and sweaty. Because your body feels different, you might be uncomfortable. Being mad doesn't feel good. You may want to hit or break something. Or you may want to scream and yell. It's OK to feel mad, but it's not OK to yell, kick, hit, or throw things.

  • How does your body feel when you get angry?
  • Have you ever hit or kicked someone or something when you got angry?
  • Do you throw things or break things when you are angry?
  • Did you feel bad later about doing those things?
  • What are some ways to get your anger out without hurting anyone?

Parenting Tip: Talk with your child about ways that people can feel better when they are mad that don't cause hurt or damage. For instance, some people may take a walk when they get angry. Others may pound a pillow. Be prepared to help your child blow off steam the next time he gets angry. Create an "Un-Mad Bucket" and fill it with toys that he can get physical with:

  • Dough or clay that can be pounded and stretched
  • Crayons with paper that can be scribbled on
  • Soft objects that can be squeezed and twisted
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