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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Defusing Anger with Kindness

I believe I've mentioned before that Sweetie will sometimes get angry, and it has nothing to do with red dye. The red dye anger goes FAR beyond just being angry. It's aggressive and violent. His usual anger is aggressive, but it is calm-able. Red dye anger escalates out of control. There is no calming it. Sweetie has to let it run its course. At least, that's the point we're at now. Trying to flush it through his system by having him drink a bunch of water may have helped a bit last time, but I can't be sure. We've only tried that once; although, it did seem to shorten the duration of the problem.

When Sweetie is angry, red dye or not, instead of making things better, things are always taken to a worse place. For example, if I ask Sweetie not to do something and he gets mad about it, Sweetie will slam a cupboard or throw something. When I try to correct that behavior, Sweetie'll do something similar again. This will continue each time I try to deal with it.

Sweetie eventually ends up being moved to his bedroom or the backyard.

image: occupycorporatism.com
This morning, it was the backyard. I kept waiting for the police to show up at my door. Seriously, he was freaking out. Wish someone would put me out back sometime and tell me to stay there until I feel like coming in. It's the strangest thing. I walk him to the door and open it. Sweetie starts yelling. I say, "Please go jump on the trampoline and get some of that angry energy out there. Come back in when you're feeling less angry."

Within moments, the back door is being beaten on with whatever can be found. Thank goodness we have super good windows. Sweetie throws things and just really storms.

image: stokeelitetc.com
On a regular day, he'll take himself out there and jump to his heart's content, but when he's forced to against his will, it's like he's been put in a torture chamber. Isn't that just like human nature?

This morning, though, I think I finally found something that just might work in these situations.

image: jartheground.com
Each time Sweetie beat on the door or threw something, I told him he had a kind act to perform before he could come back in. He eventually caught on that the more he beat on the door, the worse things became for him. Sweetie built himself up to nine kind acts this morning. You could almost see the wheels in his brain switching gears. He had to start thinking of how to improve things instead of tearing them down. The great thing was that when he came in, my yard looked great!

I'm grateful for neighbors who trust that I'm still an okay mom even if my son is screaming, "Mom! Let me in!" in the backyard. I promise I'm not beating him. I just need to remove the angry child before someone gets hurt.

I'm doubting this tactic will work with Sweetie on red dye. I'm still trying to figure that one out. For now, he's doing fabulously in turning away from the things he knows he can't have....Thankfully.

1 comment:

Alyson said...

I'm glad you have great neighbors. People can be so quick to judge sometimes, when really what they're observing is nothing different than what they have experienced at a different time, and you're probably dealing with it better than they observed it dealt with.

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