Monday, July 18, 2011

Dealing with kids' angry outbursts!

So to continue my thread of curbing angry outbursts….this time in children.

Kids like adults will yelp when thrown into cold water so we need to be gracious and give them space. You need to step back and evaluate if they merely reacted to the cold water or are they genuinely angry. So what do I do?

With so many boys in our family, we have lots of energy and pent up emotions that want to spill out. I found that having melodious praise music playing all the time keeps many surging tempers at bay but when they do arise, I nip them in the bud.

First, I keep Scripture on hand emphasizing the kindness that God wants us to have toward one another. (Ephesians 4:32) I remind them how they would want others to treat them. Would they really treat their best friend the way they are treating their sibling?

I have the kids face each other and apologize for the infraction…no simple “sorry” allowed. They have to repeat how they offended the other person and then ask forgiveness. The offended one then has to say “I forgive you” even if there is no feeling nor emotional fuzzy to go along with the statement. I then have them shake hands and tell each other “I am glad you are my brother/sister.”

Depending on the level of emotional anger present at that point OR on the infraction that needs more training, I give them a cleaning job to do. This has worked wonders. Cleaning the bathroom, specifically toilets, or mopping the floor is very therapeutic as they have lots of time to contemplate what they did wrong and a desire to not repeat an offense. You see the offender has lots of time to think about why he never wants to be hand mopping the floor or cleaning that bathroom again.

I get the benefit of a clean bathroom and surprisingly my daughter in laws who are now married to these sons get the benefit of husbands that can clean a mean toilet or mop a floor like nobody’s business. I chuckled when my daughter in laws came to me and told me how surprised they were that their hubby could clean so well.

I guess our training of our children really isn’t about a single moment but moment by moment, day by day life skills of great character for their future. So charge on moms out there and have your home become a new training ground!

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