Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Can you hear that? Me neither. Snicker. Snicker. My kids all just went out the door for the first full day of school. I'm sitting here with Mozart, a cup of coffee and the computer. I am going to go work out in a few minutes ALONE. I am going up to my first class early so I can sit at Panera and do some reading for class as well as reading some articles on attachment that I haven't wanted to get too. Dr. Bruce Perry and Dr. Arther Becker-Weidman both have some great articles at the websites.

Anyway, rages is a tough subject. I am guessing it isn't addressed often because there really is not one simple answer to them. You have to try a variety of things and what works to stop the rages one time may not work the next. Here are some of the things we have used in no particular order.

Triggers: Start watching for what triggers the rages. Watch their facial expressions and body language closely to look for changes right before the rage begins. The best way to handle a rage is to learn to prevent it in the first place. When you learn the body language and the circumstances that trigger the rages practice using some language. First you must be very calm and speak softly. Here are some of the things I would say:

"I know sometimes when I leave you have a rage about it. If you need to go ahead and get it over with. I am here for you."

"I see you are getting angry. Go ahead and yell and throw yourself on the floor if you need too."

"You are getting ready to yell. Can you tell me what you are feeling using your words?"

"You are getting angry. Calm yourself. You are safe." Ahead of time practice ways of doing this whether it be jumping on a trampoline, thinking of a safe place they have come up with, or remembering they are safe now.

Learning to self regulate is important for all of us. It is very difficult for them. Talk about learning to calm their emotions/feelings at a time when they are not upset and come up with some good ways of doing this whether it be talking about their feelings (difficult at first for them) physical activity, an art. Even though isolation helps many of us, it is not necessarily the healthiest for them since we are trying to get them to attach. We don't want them to think getting away from us is the only way of calming themselves. Later when attachment begins then it is OK to add that back in.

Time in: Sometimes when they just can't regulate themselves I find having them stay near me is the best. They have to follow me around and sit near me all day. They may complain a lot but they actually enjoy it and do feel comforted by it. Don't make it a time of cold punishment but a time of closeness. Much as you would do if a toddler were near by. Checking in, smiling warmly, giving gentle touch.
Do NOT: For a rage, yelling, getting physical or demanding compliance NEVER work. Don't bother.

This is turning out long. I'll continue tomorrow.


Life's Mom said...

Blowing up a balloon often works for us. For a season, I always kept a balloon handy in my purse. Something about all of the deep breathing that it takes to fill a balloon really makes a difference. Then when it is full, we can visually watch all of that anger go out (and sometimes the balloon flies around the room.) Then we can follow up with talking about not letting her anger fly all over people. Getting her to start blowing up the balloon while she was enraged was the most difficult part. But after some successes with it, she does not fight me as much anymore - over the balloon that is!

Brenda said...

I love that. I'm going to give it a try!

peggysue said...

Wow, the balloon is a great idea! You can't yell if you have to use that air to fill a balloon. And then to watch the rage slowly come out . . .great.