Help for Kids

A message for the kids

I hope that you all are here reading this information by your own free will. I hope that your parents or teachers haven't strapped you into a chair using duct tape and are forcing you to read this section of the webpage. If you are, please don't blame me! Just keep reading because I might be able to help.

I'm going to give you an idea that could help you keep from blow up. A lot of the kids that I've worked with have very "short fuses" and go from happy to angry in a matter of seconds. If this is you, I want to teach you a trick that can keep you out of trouble.

The trick is called "Distraction" and it will work if you use it. It works because it is designed to stop, or at least interrupt, your anger producing thoughts. We know that thoughts have a huge influence on what we feel. We feel how we think. Distraction is designed to short circuit the anger connection in your brain.

First, think of either the funniest or happiest event you can remember. Maybe it's a birthday party, the day you got your pet, hit a home run, or any other happy event. It could also be something funny. The event I use happened when I was in 6th grade. I was at my friend Kirk's house and he took a big drink of chocolate milk just as somebody made a joke. He laughed and that caused chocolate milk to come pouring out of his nose! Whenever I'm getting really angry I just think of Kirk's face when the chocolate milk was running out of his nose and I can't stay mad. In fact, I usually crack up thinking about it.

The second thing you have to do is figure out where you first notice that you're starting to feel angry. Is it in your face? Do you notice you're getting warm all over or feel tense? Do you get a funny feeling in your stomach? Do you make fists? Whatever it is, just learn to pay attention to the signal that tells you that you're getting angry. We'll call it your "cue."

Now, distraction works like this…when you notice your first bodily cue that you're getting angry, you are to switch to your distraction scene. As soon as you feel the first cue coming on, switch to your funny or happy scene and stay there (in your mind) until the angry feelings pass.

By distracting yourself away from the situation you are getting angry about, you can give yourself a second or two to think before your act. That couple of seconds might make the difference between handling a situation correctly and losing it. You have to practice this to get good at it (just like everything in life.) Write or draw your distraction scene and practice switching to that scene before you're in a tough situation. If you use this distraction scene, it can keep you out of a lot of unnecessary hassles in like and we all could use a few less hassles.

*Adapted from "Hot Stuff to Help Kids Chill Out: The Anger Management Book"
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