This ‘anger words’ sheet is used in my latest video in the series: ACTIVITIES TO EXPLORE EMOTIONS that I will add to each week (5 p.m. on Wednesdays) on my YouTube channel over the next few months. The different activities will be appropriate for different aged children but I’ll leave it up to you to decide which you feel is appropriate to use. This week’s activity is about increasing emotion vocabulary: more specifically words associated with anger.
Research has made it clear that if we have more words to describe how we feel, we become more emotionally literate. It has also shown that those with poor emotional literacy usually have a very limited number of words to express their feelings. So whether it’s the chicken or the egg, it’s clear emotion vocabulary helps!
If expressing anger resourcefully or assertively is something your child has yet to learn, you could add one or two words or expressions a day to the thermometer chart and decide together how high up the thermometer you think the words should go. This could open up conversations up about anger on a regular basis. You could use this prompt to explore anger issue with your child such as:
- Did you feel angry today?
- What triggers/triggered their anger?
- Did you see anyone else get angry?
- Where do they feel anger in their body?
- What does anger make you feel like doing?
- Compare two situations. Which would make your child more angry? (e.g. someone pushing in front of them in the dinner queue or someone laughing at them in a nasty way?) You could move on to putting different triggers in different positions on the thermometer.
- Look at how your child reacted in a situation where they became angry and discuss if their reaction made the situation better or worse.
- Help your child understand that decisions we make when we are in the grip of anger are not often good ones. Discuss ‘cool down’ strategies.
- Ask your child how anger makes them behave. Is there a better way of behaving?
- When we get angry, it can mean we feel something is unfair, we haven’t been listened to, someone has made an assumption, things haven’t gone how we wanted them to etc. Explore with your child what the underlying need was and how they could best achieve what they wanted?
- Encourage your child to be curious about why, exactly, they are angry. This pushes the focus inwards and makes a ‘heat of the moment’ response less likely.
This was my attempt at the activity.