Addendum to Letdown of a New School Year: Anger Management 101 – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers

As an added note to today’s post, I received a call from my son’s school today that he “didn’t feel well.” The school nurse knows my son well enough that any physical complaint of his is typically more so an emotional one. She didn’t feel it necessary for him to go home, so I spoke to my son, who confirmed his complaints. I was then put back on the phone with the nurse. I told her that I wanted to call my son’s ADHD doctor and run all of this by her before making a decision about my son. She said that was fine and that if my son chose to want to go back to class, she would send him.

After speaking with my son’s doctor, I decided that what my son needed was a good dose of “Anger Management 101.” I took as many pillows as I could find and strewed them all over the living room couch. Then I went to get my son at the end of the day, as the nurse sent him back to his class. When I picked him up, I announced that I had something really fun for us to do. All the way home he was questioning me: Would we be bungee jumping? Would we be going on a plane? Would we be jet skiing? He finally asked, as we pulled into the driveway, “Would we be wrestling a shark?” I thought for a moment and answered, “By the time we are done, we will feel as if we successfully wrestled with a shark!” My son became very excited.

I then brought him into the living room where I placed heaps of pillows. My son looked at me quizzically. I asked him to pick up a pillow and say what I say and do what I do. I picked up a pillow and shouted, “I HATE having to read those lower level books!!” I threw a pillow on the floor! My son laughed and screamed out the same then threw his pillow on the floor! I then took another pillow and screamed, “It’s not fair that I can’t read the books I want!!” This time I punched a pillow. My son giggled and did the same. I modeled just about every angry feeling I thought he was having and punched, threw, kicked and smashed pillows against the couch. My son loved it! Then I asked him what he could think of that he felt was unfair or made him mad. He ranted about everything from the lousy cafeteria food to limitations on using the bathroom! When we were both out of breath, and had purged our anger, I asked him, “So…do you feel like you successfully wrestled a shark?” With a huge grin on his face, he exclaimed, “Yes!!” I said, “Great!! Now when you are angry, you have permission to scream and yell and hit pillows as much as you want! He asked, “Really?” I replied, “Yes, really!” I then gave him a big hug and announced, “I love you so much! Class dismissed! It’s time for dinner! Oh, and one more thing. You are excused from doing homework for tonight. I think you learned something much more valuable.” He asked, “But what about my teacher?” I simply said, that’s my homework tonight, Honey. Let’s eat and then find something fun to do.

Throwing frisbees at dusk is so much more fun to do than homework!

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  1. 6 Responses to “Addendum to Letdown of a New School Year: Anger Management 101 – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers”

  2. Awesome post Cara!! Good for you! What a great activity to help show your son how to handle his frustrations in an appropriate way. Perhaps he would like boxing or kickboxing classes.

    By allison on Sep 19, 2012

  3. Thanks, Allison! He takes karate classes, but has been reluctant to go back. I am going to use the “wrestle the shark” metaphor with him the next time he has karate and coach him through imagining that he is “wrestling a shark” while practicing his karate moves. That way he will learn to find alternative activities to get out his anger and frustration. Even if I do say so myself, this Momma Dog rocks sometimes!

    By Cara Meyers on Sep 20, 2012

  4. LOVE IT!! Such a great outlet for his emotions and physicality. You may have to buy some new pillows (perhaps memory foam) at some point, if these get worn out. LOL.

    By Robin Gorman Newman on Sep 20, 2012

  5. Robin, at this point, I’ll buy a pillow factory if I need to!!

    By Cara Meyers on Sep 20, 2012

  6. How thoughtful and creative, Cara! Did you come up with this idea on your own? If so, you need to be writing some parenting books.

    By Heather on Sep 23, 2012

  7. Thank you, Heather…yes, I did come up with this idea on my own, but I probably got the idea from reading so many of the parenting books on my shelf. And yes, one day I aspire writing a parenting book…when I have more time to myself and less time having to advocate for my son. He will always come first!

    By Cara Meyers on Sep 24, 2012