Our youngest daughter has been very angry lately. She generally seems to take things in her stride, but our first review meeting with her reception teacher told a different story.
Other than the first day or two in September, she’s gone into school happily. She seems happy when she comes home. And like most kids of her age, isn’t bothered about sharing much detail of her day. She’s happy to talk about her lunch and who she’s played with, but that’s pretty much it.
There hasn’t been any clue from her that she’s been upset. So we were very shocked when her teacher said she has been upset quite a lot at school. Her teacher thinks it’s just her finding her way amongst her new classmates. And that although she gives the impression that things don’t phase her, they actually do.
There’s a lot going on in our lives at the moment. Her grandma and aunty were both very ill over Christmas. And we’re in the middle of building an extension to the back of our home. So there have been a lot of physical changes as well as worry about loved ones.
It’s therefore understandable that all of this is displaying itself in anger. But understanding the cause doesn’t necessary help us to manage it in the moment. Her anger has been quite severe and can involve hitting and kicking (usually at me) and throwing the contents of whichever room she’s in, around.
“My way to keep anger away”
It’s been having an impact on all of us. But I didn’t realise how much it had affected her big sister until she came to me a couple of weeks ago with a book in her hand. It was “My way to keep anger away” written by Elizabeth Cole. We bought the book a year or so ago when our youngest daughter was going through a similar phase of anger.
We read the book to her, but she was too young to understand it. But now that she’s at school and is starting to learn to read, it seemed like a good idea to introduce it again. Particularly as her big sister had gone to the trouble of hunting it out! She’d obviously remembered us buying the book and reading it to her sister.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Tatyana Kim and it was the pictures that first caught our youngest daughter’s attention. When she gets angry, she pulls some very cross faces. One of the images of Melissa, the little girl in the story, is the absolute double of our daughter when she’s angry. And she spotted that which she thought was funny.
Journey under the sea
The story follows Melissa’s journey under the sea where she meets lots of new friends in the beautiful underwater dreamland. They show her some funny and effective ways to cope with anger and help her to calm down.
The sea animals tell her about breathing deeply, rhymes, exercise, and counting techniques that help them all make their anger go away. There’s a page at the back of the book with five grounding techniques to use.
Our youngest has asked for this book at bedtime every night for the last couple of weeks. Over that time, we’ve seen a gradual improvement in how she manages her anger. To start off with, it escalated so much we were having full on meltdowns every day. But they started to become shorter and less intense.
The biggest improvement has been that she’s recognising now when she starts to get angry. And some of the time, she’s asking for help to do some of the techniques Melissa’s friends told her about in the book. Her favourites are the rhyme and the breathing techniques. It’s quite easy to get her to laugh when we do deep breaths and then see who can make the most noise when we do a big puff out.
“My way to keep anger away” is a lovely book to help young children understand that anger happens to everyone. And that there are things we can do to help us cope with it. It isn’t a miracle fix because there’s no such thing. But we’ve definitely noticed a positive difference in the way our daughter manages her anger since we started reading the book. I’d definitely recommend it to all parents of young children.
Buy the book
You can buy “My way to keep anger away” written by Elizabeth Cole from most bookshops including Amazon. This is an affiliate link. That means if you click on the link to the book and buy it, I get paid a fee from Amazon.
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