Thursday, January 05, 2012

I Have Anger Issues with Anger Issues - Part 1

    Student:   I have anger issues.
     Parent:    My Daughter is always mad at me.  I think she has anger issues.
     Teacher:  I know what his problem is....he does not know how to control his anger.

To that I say this-- enough already.

The times are few and far between that someone became angry because of anger.  More than likely the triggering emotion was jealousy, frustration, worry, or embarrassment.  Maybe it was a feeling of exclusion.  Or somebody touched some one's stuff without permission.  Maybe a friend borrowed a prized possession and did not return it.  In any case, the outcome was not as anticipated.  Perhaps, that is what led to the anger.

Do me a favor.  Please do not call it anger issues.  Instead, call it a problem with sharing.  Or fearful of not fitting in with peers.  Maybe sad about moving to a new school.  All these things could cause an outward, visible expression of anger.  But, underneath the surface is something else.  Look for it.  Sit with it.  Acknowledge it.  Address it.  Be Healthy about it. It is not going to go away on its own. Covering it with the blanket statement of 'anger issues' does little to address the behavior of real concern.   

I believe an important skill to learn is to cope; to make a difficult and stressful situation less so. What do you do when something does not turn out the way in which you hoped and thought it would?  How do you deal with these trying, sudden emotions?  How can we help young people as they experience something like this?

In my next post- I Have Anger Issues with Anger Issues, Part 2: Emotionally Speaking-  I will deliniate the manner in which I set out to help young people navigate their emotions.

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