Stepping into the teenage years has its moments of triumph and difficulty. One of the challenges is to control aggression. Here are some fun activities to help youngsters stay calm
By Shashwathi Sandeep
“I think being a teenager is such a compelling time period in your life – it gives you some of your worst scars and some of your most exhilarating moments. It's a fascinating place; old enough to feel truly adult, old enough to make decisions that affect the rest of your life, old enough to fall in love, yet, at the same time too young (in most cases) to be free to make a lot of those decisions without someone else's approval.”
This observation by Stephanie Meyers, author of the Twilight series, in a nutshell, sums up a teenager’s life. They go through a lot of changes – emotionally and physically. Around this time, impatience and aggression may become their second nature. It may be as trivial as feeling hungry or involve more serious issues such as academic performance and peer pressure.
Barbara Greenberg, a clinical psychologist in the USA, and mother of a teenager herself, has identified some of the reasons that act as triggers:
The smallest of things will make your teen angry, no matter how cautious you may be. So, it is better to be armed with solutions rather than to panic. Here are a few interesting activities that you can do with your teen to calm them down:
Each child is different, and they have their own unique ways of calming down. So, make chits and tell your teen to write down the things that he would like to do to calm himself; it can be something as simple as ‘taking a shower’ or ‘listening to music’. Put it all in a box. The next time your teen flares up in anger, tell him to pick up a chit from the calm down box and do whatever is written on it.
Your teen is behaving aggressively and you have no idea why. Here’s something which will get them talking. Gather the family around the table and roll the dice. You need to describe, according to the number. If it is
1: one thing that makes you angry
2: what you would do to cool off
3: one thing to show self-control at school
4: a time when it was hard for you to control yourself
5: a bad choice you made when you were angry
6: a good choice you could have made instead.
Sometimes, when your teen is anxious or irritated, it’s impossible to calm her down. It is at these times that a calm down jar comes in handy. All you require is an empty jam jar/bottle, glitter and warm water. When she feels distressed or angry, suggest that she shake the glitter jar. These jars help your agitated teen to focus their attention on something soothing and pretty and will calm her down.
Many of us have played this paper game when we were children. You fold a paper into half first and then fold it a few more times in such a way that four outer layers and four inner folds. On the outer fold, there would be four colours and, on the inside, numbers written. We would first choose a colour and then a number, under which there would be an activity for us to do. Try this game with your teenager for an interesting calm down activity.
Draw a map, with your teen, asking her to pinpoint her trigger points, what good comes out of it and , the things she enjoys doing when she is not angry or irritated. This effective activity will make her understand during the process, the low points of being angry.
These are just a few activities to guide you to help your teen conquer aggression. But, as a parent, your intuition would be the best teacher. Teenage is just a phase and you, as a parent, need to support your child, in every way, and help them become the ’calm and mature’ adult they want to be.
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