Angry Children: Part 2 – Maggie Dent

– Hello and welcome to
this month’s Maggie Moment. We have already done a
segment on angry kids and we’ve been getting
a lot of messages lately still with parents pulling
their hair out going, “What do I do with these angry, “revoltingly, poorly-behaved children?” And I wanna just unplug
anger a little bit more. It’s a normal emotion and I’m sure you’ve had
a moment in the last week that you’ve been angry. It is actually a normal human emotion. It’s not a bad, naughty, awful emotion, it’s a normal emotion. It’s how we manage the emotion, that’s the tricky bit for children. As I’ve already explained to
you what you will remember our children do not have access to a prefrontal cortex
which is the part of us that says oh, calm down
babe, it’s all right. I’ve got this. You know, let’s think of this another way. They don’t. They’re mainly coming
from that primitive brain and the limbic brain of course is growing and that’s the part that
the emotions can come from. Let’s be realistic and
reframe angry children are children who are having difficulty expressing big, ugly feelings. They’re not bad, they’re not awful, they’re not going to turn
into some horrible person. They need grown ups to help them. One of the other things that comes up quite often around anger is that anger is actually hiding
something else underneath, and that’s the part where
I keep encouraging parents to be CSI detectives. Because if you can figure
out what’s underneath then often the anger just
dissipates on its own. You’ve got to look at
the sorts of triggers that are going on and the
unmet needs that are going on and all the sorts of
things that our children are trying to get usually from the people who are closest to them. Now keep in mind that
anger inflames the brain, it inflames the body with this high energy which is a bit like a cortisol energy. But it’s a bit like going into a red room with a hot heater on and having that concept of a red room and then the calm room is a green room. It’s a really important thing because so often I see parents trying to reason and talk to a child in the red room. And I don’t know, I’ve
been angry sometimes and people have tried to
talk to me in that room and it doesn’t work. And in the recent
research I’ve been doing, an actual fact being in
a heightened angry state you actually can’t hear. So we need to stop doing
that, it doesn’t work. Okay, so the second thing is creating a safe enough environment so that we can help our children get back into the green room. It’s about helping them
calm down and soothe. Obviously that anger is
also into aggression. We need you to hold them
or protect other children who might be getting hurt from that. Again, it’s that concept that
this is actually my child not coping with something right now expressing big, ugly feelings
from a child-like space. It’s not something that we need to feel oh, I’m a terrible parent. If you can see those sorts of things and keep in mind the more that
I can stay calm and grounded, the more I help my child come back from the red room into the green room, then the more we’re
able to work with this. And then sometime down the track let’s try and have a
conversation with them about what was going on at that time so we can help them work
out what made them angry in the first place. I hope that’s given you just another layer of understanding anger in our children. Maybe even help you understand
the anger in you some days. Remember, keep breathing, try calmness and our children do get
better at managing anger. And that’s all for today.

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