KABOOM! Heard daily at my house.
Anger is a cover for fear or sadness that is too great. The child is not able to talk about, doesn't know how or is just not ready. So it comes off as explosive anger. Here are some ways to deal with anger before it escalates into an all out physical rage.
Let's suppose Johnny has come out of his room and is angry about his chores.
1. Be appreciative: "Thanks for bringing this up." "It is helpful when I know how you feel." "I am glad you feel safe feeling your anger around me."
2. Ask for more information "Tell me more about why your chores bother you.""Can you tell me a time when it would work better for you to do the chores?"
3. Find something with which you agree. "I don't like my chores some times either and don't feel like doing them." "Some chores are not much fun."
4.Begin to focus on a solution"Set a time today that you would like to do them." "How about if we break it into steps and you do part now and part in an hour?" "As long as they are done by dinner you can set the time."
Do not become defensive. Do not become sarcastic. Do not act superior (You are the parent but do not demean)Do not grill him with questions. Asking a few questions to get him thinking and sharing is great but too many will just make him mad again.
If none of these calm him I often say "When you can come to me calmly I will discuss it with you." and walk away. Or if they just flat out refuse to cooperate I say"We are having dinner at 5:30. We hope you will join us but if you choose not to have your chores done by then you can join us as soon as you are done."RARELY has this not worked.
The conversation could go something like this: (not a real conversation)
Bear: I don't want to do my chores and I'm not going too.
Me: Thanks for letting me know. I was wondering how the chores are going for you. Can you tell me what it is that is bothering you? Is there a certain part you don't like?
Bear: I hate it all. They are stupid and I don't want to do them. You should do them.
Me: I agree that chores may seem stupid some times but just think what it would be like if we didn't all do them. My least favorite chores is laundry. It seems like it is never ending. But I do it because I want to help the family. I really appreciate your part in helping the family too.
Bear: But I don't want too.
Me: I don't blame you. That is why I think it is so cool that you do them anyway. It shows great strength of character to help out your family. I tell you what, why don't you do half now and I'll set out our after school snacks. When you have half done join me on the couch for some cookies.
After the snack say "Dinner is in 2 hours. I'd love it if you joined us for dinner. We all need to have our chores done by then. If you don't want to do your later that is fine. Just let me know and I'll fix you a plate to eat when you are done. I do hope you join us though." Mine have NEVER missed eating with us. They may go up right to the last minute but as they see the table being set they throw it in to over drive.
Most info is adpted from Case Management Practice: Skills for the Human Services