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Anger Management for Children

In the last several years, there appears to have been an increase in the intensity of anger displayed by children in the school setting. For example, a six-year old student was suspended from his elementary school in North Carolina for kicking an assistant principal and elbowing teachers . A teacher was beaten unconscious in Washington by three students who had been told to stop smoking marijuana in a school hallway. Such outbursts have even on occasion resulted in the deaths of teachers and students. Anger Management for ChildrenIn Illinois, two teachers and several of their charges witnessed the murder of one student who was  repeatedly stabbed by two others. While such examples are extreme, violent outbursts from public school students have increased dramatically. Violence is usually the result of the inability to control anger. “With all its manifestations ... anger is becoming an increasingly intrusive disruption to daily routines” . Too often, violence in the schools is poorly handled by teachers and principals. Most college educational programs are ineffective in teaching future teachers the skills and strategies necessary for helping students learn to manage their anger. As a result, many teachers are choosing to leave the teaching profession rather than be injured by a student. However, this does not have to be the only choice for today’s teachers. There are methods for helping students learn to cope with their anger, thus preventing violent outbursts. Such techniques can be especially useful with regard to the management of anger in physical education classes.

Conceptually, anger can be defined as simply a negative emotion or mood . Novaco’s model of anger would suggest that it is a stress reaction with cognitive, behavioral, and physiological components . Defined operationally, anger is the inability to suppress aggressive acting out or severe withdrawal. Most experts would agree that regardless of the particular definition offered, anger is a basic emotion . As such, the purpose of anger is to enable us to adapt to some demand of our environment; “anger propels animals to attack or destroy” . In other words, anger is a coping mechanism used in times of stress. Anger can range in intensity from annoyance to rage, which might include behavioral displays of aggression or even violence. An Author suggest that “anger consists of strong feelings of displeasure in response to a perceived injury; the exact nature of these feelings (for example, outrage, hate, or irritation) depends on the specific situation.”

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