Anger issues for children can often ostracize them from their peers, labeling them as a bully, as different 1. That label only increases when a child is asked to meet with a therapist on his own. However, meeting with a group for anger management can remove some of the stigma and loneliness that a child with anger issues feels 12. There, he can converse with others who understand him and feel that he is in a community environment. You can create group discussions and games that help children learn to deal with anger while among other people.
Some children may lack the capacity to voice their concerns and the things that make them angry. Setting up a few easels for your group, so that the children can paint a picture or color a picture that represents things that make them angry, how they feel before and after they are angry, and any other issues they might be dealing with can help children to express themselves without having to verbalize it. In a safe environment, they might draw something that gives you better insights to deal with their anger.
Children often benefit from visual activities that help them to have a mental picture of what they are learning. Invite the children in your anger management group to participate in an "Anger Funeral." Each child writes down on paper things that make her angry or generates bad feelings 12. Put them in a shoebox, and bury the anger outside or somewhere in the classroom, if possible. Talk about that anger being gone for good, and focus on things that you can do instead of being angry, as anger is no longer available. At the end of a year, open the box to review those things that they were angry about, to see how far they've come in their therapy.
Exercise is a good way for children to get rid of their aggression without hurting anyone. Choose active, outside games for children to play that emphasize team work so that children can learn to work with others, instead of on their own. Carnival-type bean bag toss games, as well as easy to play games like kickball emphasize children working together and diffusing situations where anger could get the best of them. Daily exercise may help calm them enough to function better in a classroom setting. A discussion afterward about losing or not playing well and how that makes the children feel further enhances the usefulness of this type of play.
While it may be an obvious choice, group discussion can help kids learn to voice their anger so that it has a shape and form, and is easier to deal with. Some children may not be able to recognize those feelings, or try and suppress them because they believe they are wrong. Provide a safe environment for children to talk amongst themselves, with little moderator input, about things that make them angry, how they feel when they lose their temper or how others react to them. They'll be able to talk with their peers and discover a commonality in the group.
Give each of the children in the group a stress ball, or some other small token that they can keep in their pocket. With that token, talk about distraction tactics which can help them deal with their anger. Squeezing the ball, breathing deeply or singing the ABC's in his head can help to distract the child from the anger and focus on something more soothing. Place the token in his pocket as a reminder that when he is angry, to try a coping technique instead of yelling and becoming physical.
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