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Anger Management

(10 Posts)
KarenThirl Mon 21-Mar-05 07:42:12

J and I had a little 'anger-management workshop' over the weekend, to give him some strategies for calming himself down when he gets into a strop. At the time I didn't think he was taking it in - he was bouncing off the walls and rolling on the floor, and seemed completely disinterested. Anyway, it ended with me making notes and typing them up in pretty colours and various fonts, and pinning copies to the walls in the dining room and his bedroom.

Later, at bathtime, he went ape over something or other and Dad lost his temper, exploded with rage and stormed out of the bathroom in fury. I went up to calm things down. Once he was settled, J told me he was going to have a word with Dad and show him his anger management strategies so that he could learn how to handle his temper! So, it did go in after all! Took some persuading before he understood that now was probably not the best time to talk to Dad about anger though.

MrsBeThankful Tue 05-Apr-05 10:20:37

just read this....would be interested in more about this as Leigh age 8 with AS has terrible outbursts.

KarenThirl Tue 05-Apr-05 13:54:48

Hi Mrs BT. It was something I picked out of a book called 'Parenting A Child With Asperger's Syndrome - 200 tips', by Brenda Boyd, who's the mother of Kenneth Hall, the ten year old who wrote 'Asperger Syndrome, The Universe and Everything'. There was a section on Anger Dos and Don'ts, eg Don'ts were hitting people, shouting, damanging or destroying, Dos were punching cushions, draw or scribble, talk about it, use made-up swear words etc. J and I worked out some strategies that were appropriate to him and in language at his level, and made the lists to refer to when he's calm. It's now two weeks since we did the initial session and every couple of days we have a look at the list on the wall and talk through them. Now he's starting to remember them and when he blows I can say "That's not one of your Do's, let's think of what you CAN do to help you calm down", and he's starting to get it. Don't know how far we'll go with it but I'll keep on trying. He's even had the odd occasion when he's checked the list before going out somewhere, to remind himself which strategies he could use if he needed them in that environment, so that's definitely a bonus.

Fio2 Tue 05-Apr-05 13:58:06

I dunno i could do with some myself

Chocol8 Tue 05-Apr-05 18:29:24

Agree with MrsBT (ha ha MrsF), that I could defo do with some of those hints - I will go and buy that book immediately as like Leigh, my ds has really bad outbursts.

Well done to J, especially for reminding himself before he went out!

MrsBeThankful Tue 05-Apr-05 19:55:49

thanks karen- that book sounds great. (i may adapt what you said you did into a velcro picture board....in that whjen he gets angry he has to physically choose a card with the agreed way of dealing with the anger .....that to me would be like 'counting to 10'.

KarenThirl Wed 06-Apr-05 07:25:49

I should add that J is still taking some time to come down from tantrums and lashes out, shouts etc, but the rages are of shorter duration and it's easier to get him to calm afterwards. We always have a short chat about the incident afterwards as well, so that I can ask him if what we did was helpful of if something else could have worked better. J's very aware of his problems with anger and his feedback has been really useful. The best of it is that it helps to keep me calm during the rage, which in turn stops him getting higher. I now feel that there's always a strategy to use, whereas before I'd be struggling to know what to do and often made things worse.

From J's perspective the good thing is that he's taking the idea on board and thinking about it often, so it's gradually seeping into his memory as a way of dealing with rage. We have a paragraph at the top of the page which says "When I am angry I want to stop being angry and try to be happy again. It is better if I can make the situation better and not worse". That's the bit we read over and over again to promote understanding of why we're trying Anger Management in the first place.

The book is fantastic and I've gained loads of brilliant ideas from it. I can't recommend it highly enough.

TheRealMrsF Wed 06-Apr-05 12:44:01

interesting what u said about the time of the rage being shorter- my son leigh (AS) actually commented on Alex (younger)- having calmed down quicker than he does himself when he hurt himself the other day......you see not only does leigh take ages to calm in a rage/meltdown,... but he's alaso the one who feels the most pain and takes ages to stop screaming/crying after he gets hurt.

my suggestion for anger (which def shortens the length of the rage with leigh) is to not talk about WHAT CAUSED THE RAGE- but HOW HE FEELS...."Oh! YOU must be so cross......YOU must be so hot and bothered YOU must be sweaty ..." basically reassuring him that HOW he feels is valid....and to help him associate the physical byproducts of anger with the incident....but not mentioning the problem until you are sure he is 'coming down the other side'.
If i talk about what triggered him too soon he will start off again.

KarenThirl Wed 06-Apr-05 14:11:07

I think you're right Mrs F. They need to know that it's not being angry that's the problem but how they deal with it, so having that anger validated is important.

Sometimes J needs to talk about it quite soon after the event, other times he needs longer to calm down fully before he's capable of discussing it reasonably without kicking off again. We'll say "Let's try and make things better between us now and stop arguing", but often he's so full of rage and blame for me that he can't let go (and let's face it, it's ALWAYS my fault!). I'm hoping that with time and practice we'll be able to lessen the impact of tantrums and make them more liveable with.

TheRealMrsF Wed 06-Apr-05 17:44:28

i went on a parenting workshop and they used a diagram of a volcano as a way of explaining anger....quite a good comparison in our house.....as tom loves volcanoes!

They describe the slope up the volcano as the 'trigger phase'....folowed by the erruption.....followed by the 'slope down-calming down '.......then on level ground is the 'plateau' phase.
The important thing i used this to tell the boys is that just as a volcano can be very high and take a long time to climb and get down---so can our anger....it can be a matter of minutes to reach erruption....or several days of feeling irratable etc.....and equaly it can take minutes to calm down- or the anger can 'rumble' on for along time...days even.

I did laminate a diagram i drew of a volcano labled with the comparison to our tempers.....i am sat here now wonderingwhere it is????!!!

This volcano image may not work withy your son- depends how 'visualy' he can see things.....some AS kids may see it JUST as a volcano.

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