If I had a dollar for every time a parent said to me “my son is so angry” I’d be rich!
Anger-It’s a Part of Life
I was raised by a very angry father (he raged). The issue for me in my life wasn’t that he was angry, it was how he handled the anger. And so, for a kid who was the brunt of someone’s anger this may sound odd. Anger is not a bad emotion, it is one of “The Big 4” (mad, sad, glad and afraid). It is what you do with the anger that makes all the difference.
In my case, my father was abusive; he abused his family by hitting and yelling. Anger not only destroyed him but his relationship with his family. That’s why I devoted by career to teaching not only adults, but children how to handle anger.
Anger is an expression of a feeling and we’re entitled to our feelings. Obviously hitting, yelling and screaming or punching holes in the wall are not appropriate. And more importantly, turning anger inward is not a healthy alternative either.
So what happens if your son is not allowed to express his anger? Well, the most common result is depression; depression is anger turned inward. I have dealt with many adolescent boys who come to my program, The Quest Project® full of anger and rage. Maybe he’s being bullied at school, his parents are divorcing, or he just isn’t happy with himself. The reasons are varied and for the most part all ARE reasons to feel angry.
I tell parents to buy their son a punching bag. This offers a healthy, tactile method to release and vent his feelings of anger.
I then teach the importance of immediately following up with what to fill that “void or empty space with.” Teaching your son to fill it with JOY and the things that he feels happy about; things that bring him pleasure, is a life lesson that is invaluable! Place the responsibility on him to fill the void with good and positive! In my experience he’ll welcome the challenge because it EMPOWERS him!
Open Lines of Communication
Talk to your son. Tell him of times you’ve been angry and how that worked out for you. Let him know that you understand he’s angry and he’s entitled to his feelings. Work out a healthy safe way that you are comfortable with where he can be free to express his anger. Talk about the freedom of replacing anger with joy. Then move quickly and encourage him to take responsibility for that which he’s angry about how to release it and how he’ll replace that with the things that bring him joy.
Be the example for your son. Show him that you can be angry, release it, and replace it with something good.
Are you dealing with an angry son? Have you accepted his anger and helped him to get it out so that he has an empty space to fill with joy?
Want to know more on the subject? Pick up a copy of “Saving Our Sons”-A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Boys for Success on Amazon.