I don’t believe in anger management.
I don’t believe that anger is something that needs managing. Anger is a feeling and I believe everyone is entitled to feel any way they wish.
Aggression, however is something that can – and in many cases should – be managed. Aggression is the action that accompanies our feelings of anger.
I tell my young people they are welcome to be angry for as long as they like (even though it’s not always very productive), but I expect them to learn skills to help them manage their aggression.
This is always the first discussion I have with the youth in my programs during a session about Understanding Anger (and aggression management). We discuss what anger is, what aggression is and how we are to handle them.
Use the activity below as a jumping off point into a discussion to help youth understand anger.
Discussion Starting Activity – Understanding Anger:
- You need a flipchart or whiteboard (or large paper) and colored markers
- Ask the group what they think anger is. Use different colored pens and write down their answers
- Use one color for thoughts/emotions and another color for behaviors (don’t tell the group why you’re using different colors)
- Have the group identify what the difference is between the colors. Hopefully they’ll recognize that one color is for feelings/thoughts and one color is for behaviors.
- Use this as a starting point for your day and discussions about the different between anger and aggression.
Next week, we’ll have another activity you can use – the Vicious Cycle aggression management technique.
Question: How do you help young people with understanding angry? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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