Using Words When Angry

Purpose for this program:
This program is to help children with verbal delays to gain emotional language. Children with delays in verbal expression may find it hard to communicate frustration or anger in any other way than to tantrum. This is, of course, disruptive to all concerned. When those same children become more fluent in terms of letting others know what their needs are, they may be ready to also learn the vocabulary of emotions. If they can learn to express emotions verbally, their tantrums will tend to diminish significantly.
Contracting:
Prior to using this program, sit with your child and tell them that you will use this new approach to reduce tantrums. Tell them it works quite well and that you will be patient with him or her as she/he gets use to the steps. Then go over each step with them so that they have a sense of how it works.
Steps:
1. If a child is getting angry and you can catch it before the tantrum happens, stop and apply the following questions in as calm a way as possible:
a. Tell me what you are angry about.
b. Tell me who you are angry with.
c.  Ask me if I understood.
2. If the child is not able to use words at that moment, ask them to take a break of 2 minutes and come back and try again.
3. If the child is not able to respond, give them the words. For example, if Tommy is angry for not being allowed to play outside you can say …Tommy say these words “Mommy I am angry at you for not letting me play outside”. Help him say the words out loud. Him hearing himself use the right words makes it easier for him to use them in the future. This safe and effective program can be used for children from 2 to 11 years of age.
Caution
When children start using words to express emotion, they may go overboard a bit at first. Some parents have come to us saying “I preferred the tantrums”. Once the language starts, the parents should mold the verbal expressions so that they are clear but appropriate.

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