Monday, April 22, 2013

Mommy & Me Anger Management

I wish I could let you all crawl inside my head and watch as I replay a scene from this afternoon.

As you may know, my little Pie (almost four) and I have been struggling with anger issues--separately and together. I've been poring over mom blogs and parenting books for the past couple weeks, trying to come up with a plan of action. In the meantime, we haven't exactly been helping each other keep our tempers in check.

I was lying on my bed trying to lose myself in a novel when Pie came in to ask me to read one of his truck-themed board books. I didn't want to, but I did...and somehow he ended up sitting in my lap as I stroked his grubby little palm with my thumb. I kissed the top of his head and asked, "doesn't that feel good? Doesn't that make you feel nice and calm? I like when someone does that to my hand."

A tiny little light bulb went off in my head then. "You know what, Pie? How about when I start yelling, you grab my hand and stroke my palm to try to calm me down. Wanna practice?" He smiled as I started pretend-yelling, then he picked up my hand and ran his little fingers over my palm. My "tirade" turned into an exaggerated sigh of relief. "Oh, I feel so much better, Pie! You really helped me calm down!"

Then we reversed roles. Pie feigned a tantrum, and then pretended to melt into contentment when I stroked his palm. We took a few more turns until he decided to go outside to play with Daddy.

I guess that's the way you're supposed to do this parenting thing: role play whenever you find an innocuous moment and then hope the information sticks. Just keep trying until something works.

In the meantime, I'm going to share some of the information I've found that I think might be useful in our anger-management quest. There's some good stuff here.
(Actually, I could go on and on...go take a look at my Pinterest board on discipline for many more down-to-earth ideas.)


  1. I like this role playing idea! Smart move, Mommy.

  2. that sounds like a really great way to help control mummy or child outbursts, you'll have to keep us posted on whether it works in 'real life situations'. I like that you role played it. and that you are letting Pie know you are working on your emotions, thats such an important message to give a child - i may not be there yet but i'm trying.
    I'm featuring this post on this weekends Sunday Parenting Party, so many great bits in it that need sharing.

  3. Helpful! I am always YELLING, then apologizing. I'm going to try the hand trick. Hopefully it works for me and my 7-yr-old the way it worked for you!

  4. KUDOS to you for being such an insightful mom who parents by HEART! Your solution was beyond perfect and steeped in love. Those moments of connection are so powerful with our kids - and squarely places us in our kids' corner. In fact, I have often used that very term, "I'm in your corner. I'm on your side," with my own kiddos! Role-plays are often used in therapy with good results...they give us a way to rehearse alternative endings to problematic situations. I'm giving you a standing ovation, mama!

    Thanks so much for including us as a resource..."Crazy 8: Top Eight Ways to Help Kids Deal with Feelings"!

    Most importantly, keep your eye on the prize: When intense emotions are properly channeled...AMAZING things happen. Believe it!

    Wendy @Kidlutions
    MOM and Child/Adolescent Therapist
    (with experience with INTENSITY of EMOTIONS with thousands of kids, including one or two of my own!)

  5. Oh wow! Well done to you. I will definitely give this a try with my girl. Thank you for sharing.