Character Chats

Who do we go to when we’re angry?

Who can we go to when we get angry?

This week, we’re talking about anger management.

Here at True Balance Karate we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. We’re talking about anger management, making sure that we recognize and respond to anger in a healthy way.

I’m Master H, chief instructor and owner here at the studio. I have two Master’s degrees in education. I’ve taught anything from kindergarten to eighth grade. Basically what that means is we’ve developed this program to meet the needs of our youngest students of three and our oldest students of 83.

Asking for Help

This week we’re talking about who can we go to when we get angry?

Are we handling our anger in the best way?

Example from School

So we’re faced with a situation.

Let’s say that- I’m going to take it right off of the page right here- let’s say that we are at school and we get left out.

Our friends are all playing at recess. We get left out, and we get angry from that.

What do we do? How do we address that problem?

We don’t do anything that day. We go home, and now we have to share. We have to think back. We have to be accountable for our behavior during that day.

Did we say anything to our friends when we got left out? Did we say anything to a teacher that we felt like we were being left out? Did we address the problem in any way, shape or form?

When we think back on these things, it gives us an opportunity to learn.

It gives us an opportunity to determine what would be a better way of handling our anger.

So the next day we’re at school and again, we’re at recess, and we’re being left out of the game that’s being played.

So now we took the time the day before to talk at home with our parents, to talk at home with our siblings, to talk at home with those trusted people in our house, and now we have a good tool.

“Hey, I’m feeling angry,” or, “Hey, I’m feeling left out. Can I come and play too?”

We have tools now to be able to help us solve this problem.

We are able to go up to a teacher. “I’m feeling angry and upset. I’m being left out. Can you help me get part of the game?”

Now we’re able to advocate and we’re able to solve those problems.

Advocating for Your Emotions

As my kids were getting older … They’re 17 and 14 now … But I remember when my daughter, who’s 17 now, when she was in seventh or eighth grade, that’s when we started this conversation, back in junior high.

She would come to me and she would say, “I’m having this problem in school.” I would talk with her about who would be her best advocate.

I would ask her, “Do you want me to email your teacher and tell her about this problem?”

We settled on, “Email my teacher and tell her I’m coming to her with this problem.”

So her teacher then knew I was in the know, but it put the responsibility and the advocacy on my child so that she could learn to express whatever was upsetting her, whatever was angering her, whatever was frustrating her in her way.

I would email her teacher. “Dear Mrs. Smith: Becca is coming to you with a problem. It involves feeling left out of lunch. She will talk to you about it more tomorrow.”

That’s all I needed to say. Done. Easy. Simple.

Then she would go into school. She would talk with that teacher. They would come to a solution.

When she would come home, I’d ask her how her conversation went, and she would tell me it went great, this was how we solved it.

But it gave her responsibility. It gave her a chance to be accountable to how she was feeling.

Learning Emotional Responsibility

Now, as parents, we know we cannot solve all of our children’s problems, but it makes us feel good when we teach them to solve their own problems.

It makes us feel good when we can solve our own problems with other adults around us using this same idea.

Maybe we have taken an opportunity from a couple weeks ago and given ourselves a brain break or a timeout or we’ve walked away from a situation.

Maybe we’re going to revisit it, but we’re going to send a quick message like, “Hey, we really need to talk about this.”

Then when we see them, we can have a conversation.

We take the emotion out of it, but we still recognize that we felt that way. “I felt insulted when you said, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I felt anger. I felt upset when this happened.”

So it recognizes the feelings in a healthy way, but it also gives us the opportunity to solve the situation and make a positive solution to the situation without turning it into a screaming, yelling type of a match, type of a fight, because that’s not going to help us solve the problems.

When we can teach our kids and when we can teach ourselves how to handle these conversations and these big emotions, (Because yes, anger is a big emotion!) when we can teach them how to handle those big emotions in a mature way, in a responsible way, we’re teaching them good skills, good advocacy skills.

We’re showing them who are their advocates: their teachers, their parents, their grandparents, aunts, uncles, their friends’ parents.

We are teaching them who they can go to for help in solving situations.

Wrapping Up

From there, we have managed to manage our anger, we’ve managed to control our impulses, we’ve managed to react in a safe and fair way, and we’re able to grow our relationships in a more positive manner.

Thanks, and we’ll see you on the mat.

True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here.