It’s so hard to teach a four year old how to manage his or her anger. Especially when said child is my child.
The day Willy turned three years old, I felt like a light switch went off in his head. He went from being this angelic and charmed little boy, to literally… the devil in less than 24 hours. He would get angry for reasons that I couldn’t even comprehend, and his tolerance level went from an 8 to a 0. Other children having a hard time around him would set him off, and the fact that his speech was so delayed, it felt like he was in a constant state of frustration and anger.
I tried many different approaches with him, but nothing seemed to help. My sweet little boy was no longer sweet. He was… just…. pissed off all of the time. I later found that “smelling the flowers” and “blowing out the candles” helped him cope. The deep breaths worked on occasion if he wasn’t too far gone in his tantrum, but sometime just letting him ride it out worked just the same. It was heartbreaking.
Then he turned four and everything changed again. His angelic glow was back! He had a light in his eyes that I hadn’t seen in about a year, and my God… my bright and special boy had returned to me. Now don’t get me wrong, he still had some anger issues and still does, but I felt like I could reason with him and help him through it. I couldn’t do that before. Willy was actually listening to me and allowing me to help intervene when “push came to shove.” Literally!
A while back, I tried to teach him “I” statements, but at the time it seemed a little to complicated for him, so we started resorting to “When I’m mad I _____________. and Willy sometimes fills in the blank. I’ll say to him, “When I’m mad, I stomp my feet!” Or, “When I’m mad I make a mean face” and I show him what I’m doing. When it’s his turn, I’ll start off the sentence for him, and let him fill in the blank. Sometimes he uses phrases like “I’m just sooooooo mad” or “I breathe in and out.” I love it!
He has two or three books that he thinks are a riot when it comes to dealing with the subject of anger, but at the moment, he takes it at face value. Pure entertainment. I know he’ll get the hang of it, and he’s come such a long way already. I just wonder what his next birthday will bring?