Re: Grandson anger management

[ Parent to Parent Forum ]

Posted by judy lavin on August 30, 2003 at 23:37:15:

In Reply to: Grandson anger management posted by Jan on August 30, 2003 at 12:46:04:

Hi Jan,
I'm sure he becomes extrememly angry when teased. Teasing is really, really mean and hurtful. And, there can be long term effects that for some last a lifetime. So, his reaction is not odd or even an overreaction. He's acting typically and he's most likely justified in his anger.

The questions are who is teasing him? How to hopefully stop them? And, how to help your grandson cope? If family members are teasing him, then you have to stop them. Even if they think they're funny--your grandson doesn't like being the butt of their jokes. It's hurting him, so they must stop doing it. You need to explain this to them. (If need be, you can give the teasers, if they are kids, consequences for their mean behavior.) You also need to separate the family teasers from him, when the teasing occurs.

If peers are teasing him, there are several things to do.
You have to get him to talk about his feelings. Often, if kids verbalize their hurts (or if he's younger, draw pictures of what's bothering them or how bad they are feeling), talking out or drawing their emotions--even if it's only a hard, black line showing his pain--reduces their need to act out their pain with a temper. However, they may still be hurting so much, that they will continue to be angry and do some acting out.

If possible, you obviously, want to separate your grandson from those teasing him.

You DON'T want to tell your grandson to IGNORE the teaser. That doesn't work because when children (adults too) are upset their brain mechanism that allows them to stay calm and ignore something, shuts down. SO, they physically CAN'T ignore the person. (that is a skill that has to be learned and it takes a long time.)The best you can do here, is ask him, "Do you think you can PRETEND to ignore him?" If he says, "no," keep listening to him and brainstorming for other ways to stop his attackers.

You MUST listen to your grandson's hurts. Don't tell him, that he's overreacting or that he's doing something wrong. Just listen.
You have to empathize with him. You can tell him how miserable it is of them (the attackers) to tease him. They aren't kind people. That they don't really know the real him. That you're glad that he isn't the type of a boy to hurt someone by teasing another person. That most people don't realize that words are "things" and just because they are invisible, doesn't mean they don't hurt. You can tell him a story of something similar that hurt you when you were a child. You can tell him that this won't last forever and that later on, when he gets older, he won't have to see these people.

The blame needs to go on the attacker--not your grandson.

You must remind your grandson of his positive points. Remind him what a great kid he is and tell him how much you love him, etc. etc. He needs positive feedback.

Hugs are really helpful, too.

You can role-play, reenacting the situation, and have him come back with the comments he feels "he could of" or "should of" said. That might enable him to defend himself the next time.

You can also go to his teacher--carefully and quietly--if things don't improve. A word of caution here, make sure that going to the teacher is OK with your grandson, first. He may want to handle it himself. Sometimes, going to the teacher makes things worse instead of better, so you have to be careful. It also depends on your grandson's age. If he's young, then going to the teacher, quietly, is a good idea.

I have an entire chapter in my book, SPECIAL KIDS NEED SPECIAL PARENTS, devoted to ideas on how to help kids who are teased. These ideas come from my own parenting experiences as well as those of other parents and parenting experts, like Adele Faber who is the co-author of several best-selling parenting books. It would be worth your while to read that chapter.

As I said, I don't know any other real specifics of your grandson's situation, so I may have given you a lot of advice that doesn't apply to him directly.

If you give me more information about him and what the exact troubles are, I'm happy to try to help you even more directly.

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