My kids learned a song from the cartoon Ni Hao Kai Lan that says, “If you feel so mad that you wanna roar, take a deep breath and count to four!” L finds it calming and helpful, but hearing her sing it enrages G. This is typical. Lately, he has been losing his temper more than usual. I was warned that his at home behavior would suffer since he would be exhausted from behaving all day at kindergarten, so while it may be normal, it’s still not fun.
In an attempt to discuss and manage his anger and tantrums, I checked out a book at the library called Feeling Angry. I could only laugh when he got pissed that I got chose a book for him with a girl on the cover instead of a book about superheroes. This book from the Exploring Emotions series has a bunch of kids in sweatpants talking about feelings. G identified with the boy in the yellow polo, brown sweatpants, and black loafers who gets angry when his Legos don’t cooperate. L nodded when we discussed the little girl who screams when she’s angry. When we got to the page about the tired mommy who loses her temper and shouts over nothing, I asked the kids if I ever act like that. Both said no, which made me think they weren’t paying attention to the question.
I most definitely lose my temper over little things. Multiple requests to put on shoes, too much bath water splashed on the floor, finding L with her hand literally in the jelly jar. These things can either roll off my back, or send me into a fury, and it has everything to do with my mood.
So I understand when G and L freak out over something that seems unimportant. I also know that it feels yucky to be out of control, or to yell or cry in anger. I want them to know that it’s okay to be angry or upset, but some ways of managing those emotions are better than others.
As an adult, I recognize that much of my life is spent choosing how I will react to situations. I have the tools to (sometimes) make reasonable decisions about how I manage disappointments and frustrations. With the help of the sweatpants gang and Ni Hao Kai Lan, we are working on these skills with our littles.