Good Mad Choices
by Janai Mestrovich, M.S. Aka Grandma Boom
“What do you do when you are mad?” I asked a group of kindergarten children. A blonde headed boy raised his hand quickly, leaning forward to catch my attention. I asked him to share. What he said brought sadness to my heart.
“It's so bad I can't share what I do.” His head tilted downward as he shared, staring at the floor before looking back up at me with a grimace on his face. It wasn't the time or place to invite more information to be shared.
Before he left after my session concluded, he said he liked what I taught because he didn't know there were other ways to 'get the mad out' without hurting somebody with words or hits. THAT brought gladness to my heart.
My session was loaded with activities for an accelerated grasp and integration of SUPERKID POWER skills making good choices with mad feelings.
Lack of awareness means lack of choices. Educating children about options with behaviors to release mad feelings can be a life saver and enhancer. Self worth and relationship building stand to improve due to the empowerment with healthy choices.
Here's my bottom line for GOOD mad choices: Get the mad feelings OUT without hurting self or others. Hurt self by keeping mad feelings in. Hurting others also hurts oneself.
I provided sponges for every child to use as we practiced harm free squeezing and blowing our mad feelings out of the body. Additional sponges were sent home in the parent packet along with tips of reinforcement ideas for healthy choices with anger for the family system.
Providing playdough for each child, I instructed them to show what mad feelings look and feel like, allowing them to get the mad feelings out and into the playdough. Some pretty ugly formations appeared!
When I gave permission for everyone to drum out their mad feelings with drums I use in every class, no one hesitated. The room was filled with mad
thunder rolling throughout its walls. We did deep belly button breathing, blowing out the mad to do calm drumming for a contrast.
Singing the mad choice song while drumming brought great enthusiasm from the group. “WHEN I FEEL MAD, I CAN'T FEEL GLAD. SQUEEZE AND BLOW OUT THE MAD AND THEN I'LL FEEL GLAD.'
We practiced a variety of other techniques such as communicating “I feel mad,” shaking out the mad and running it out.
Artwork helped children to see clearly what happens inside them with bad and good mad choices. Hurt oneself by keeping in the mad feelings; hurt someone else by taking out the mad feelings on them or making good mad choices that build SUPERKID POWER and don't hurt anyone.
According to the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, anger, irritability and aggression are among the most common reasons for child mental health referrals. Anger is a powerful player in a child's life. Finding ways to educate them about good options for handling anger sets the stage for a healthier life, behavioral patterns and relationships.
In class I used my book, SUPERKID SAVES THE DAY (Amazon and www.grandmaboom.com). There is a story about a girl befriending an angry dog. She helps him to find a way to release his mad feelings by howling and barking with him. Of course, the class chimed in and we all created howling, barking/growling anger release. The children, while having FUN, embraced the FEELING of releasing mad feelings in a healthy way that was not harmful. Unforgettable! And, of course, THAT is exactly what we want! UNFORGETTABLE!!!!!
A most heartwarming feedback interaction occurred in the school parking lot.
The woman called out, “Are you Grandma Boom?” Being the only person in costume made it rather obvious. She hurried over to me.
“Thank you so much for teaching the children these skills. My son gets so excited when you come to class. So do I! We love your handouts for home reinforcement tips. My husband and I haven't known what to do or say in so many situations with our son. Now we have ideas you give us and we are all using the sponges to squeeze out made feelings and talk about it. Before your help we were just doing bad habits we grew up with. All my friends with kids don't know what to do either. So I keep your home reinforcement tips on our dining room table. Whenever friends come over, I have them read it. We love you. Thank you for helping us!”
I was thrilled and humbled. After all, being trusted with anyone's children and the welfare of a family growing healthily together is a great honor.
Click on the links below for more information
Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
SUPERKID SAVES THE DAY, Janai Mestrovich, M.S. aka Grandma Boom
Free video on intro to self regulation plus free downloads for parents and teachers by Janai Mestrovich, M.S. Aka Grandma Boom
Superkid Power Guidebook by Janai Mestrovich, M.S. Aka Grandma Boom (Amazon)
Ten ways to help your child develop a positive attitude