Please can you help me? Sometimes I get mad or I don’t do as I’m told. It’s so hard when Mummy says:’NO’. I feel really horrible inside. I don’t know why. Whatever it is makes Mummy mad too. I tend to shout and scream. Then Mummy does too. We both stomp off and don’t speak for a while. Sometimes I go to my room and I’m really frightened. I want to go downstairs and tell her I’m sorry, but then this horrible thing stops me. I just like it best when my Mummy is happy and then I know it’s all going to be OK.
Love Tom , aged 9
PS I’d also really like an iPod
Thank you for your lovely letter. Don’t worry! Sometimes, families do this to each other. The most important thing is that they love each other which means that in the end, it will be OK. The trouble is Tom, that when we are mad, we can’t think straight and all sorts of horrible stuff comes out of our mouths. We don’t mean it really (although at the time it feels like we really do!). We want to kick and punch to get this horrible feeling out of our body. Grown ups do this as well. Anger is not a bad thing as long as we are not hurting ourselves or other people with it.
When Mummy tells you ‘NO!’ it’s because she has a good reason. When you hear no, you don’t like it because it’s not what you want. That’s good because you know what you want and people like that go far in life. The feelings you have inside of your body are called anger. Do they feel hot? When I’m angry (sometimes Rudolph eats all the Mince Pies) I clench my fists and my jaw. My voice gets very loud and my cheeks go red. It’s really important to notice where the anger is in your body. Things that make me angry are when nobody believes me, when nobody listens or if I get blamed for something which is not my fault – that is so unfair.
Your job Tom, once you have found the anger is to get it out of your body. The anger makes your breathing faster and it helps to slow it down and take deep breaths. .I know you can do this and you will find your own way. I sometimes find that punching pillows or going for a long walk helps. Other times I want a warm bath or a hug to soothe me. Sometimes when I’m really angry I go off to my workshop and hammer really hard. I make the best toys at those times. Anger has such a powerful energy which is why we have to be really careful with it.
Once you have got the anger out of your body, you can talk to Mummy about what happened and make it better. You can also come up with a plan of how to help each other when you get angry next time.
Good Luck Tom. I know you are a lovely boy. I’m pretty sure that your iPod will find its way to you. I can see that you are trying really really hard and you want the best for you and your Mummy. Every day we are learning and some days are easier than others.
Have a great Christmas.
I know that you have a zillion trillion things on your mind and sometimes after a really long day you just want the kids to listen for once. I know how that feels because right now I’m dreaming of January when I can put my feet up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you put your feet up Linda. Do you have good friends and kind people who can support you though the stressful times? I hope so.
I know that when Tom is angry, it sets you off too. The things is you will never be able to control him or his anger, so there is no point in trying. You can control your reaction to it if you want to. I can imagine that Tom’s anger can be a bit much sometimes. I find breathing through the fear and talking to myself calmly helps. I have to drop my agenda and concentrate on Rudolph. Tom is probably feeling like it’s a bit much too. This can be a tricky balancing act when all your Christmas presents need wrapping and the washing basket is full.
Not a lot of people realise that hugs change our brain chemistry and dissolve anger quite quickly. If you can get close to Tom when he is angry – rest your hands gently on him and crouch down to softly reassure him. Being lower down than him means you are less threatening. Words like ‘It’s OK Tom. You are angry. I’m here to help you. We can get this out together’ will soothe him. Encourage him to breathe. You can breathe together as you blow the anger away. This will make the anger pass a lot quicker and it will give Tom the tools to do it for himself eventually.
Tom needs to know that you can hold his anger and he will push you to the limit to test your love It’s what he needs to feel secure. Angry children have full emotional pack backs so make sure you are doing your 10 minutes of connection every day and find a way to help Tom get his feelings out. Rudolph likes it when I tickle his antlers or make him laugh really loudly from his belly.
When the anger has gone you and Tom can talk about how it made you both feel. You can tell him that you don’t like it when he is rude and you want him to be respectful. When you are both angry you cannot speak with love and nothing good can come of that.
Linda – please relax. I think you are a great Mum and the fact that you recognise change is necessary means all your actions will have that loving energy. That’s because your intention is to do your best for Tom and who could ask for more than that? What a lucky boy he is to have a Mummy like you.
I want you to enjoy your Christmas so take it easy on yourself.
Love Santa x
PS Your Mulberry handbag is nearly wrapped and I have ordered some extra chocolate just in case
Did you tune in for my Twelve Days of Smiley Christmas on Facebook? It was an awesome way to get some tips on surviving Christmas and there was some fun stuff in there for the kids too. You can catch up with the videos here
Recently I’ve had lots of calls from Mums who are stressed out with meltdowns. If you want some support, I can give it to you. My Chatty Club is the place to be and you can get a free pass here to have a nosey around before you sign up properly. Membership is only £60 a year or £8.50 if you pay as you go which is nothing to help you stay calm.
I can also coach your child 1-2-1 to help them understand all of their emotions, not just anger. Being emotionally intelligent is such an important part of being a happy, confident grown up. Or you can sign up for Smiley TV which is a fun way for children to learn about feeling confident, understanding themselves and the world they live in.