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Helping Teachers with Children Who Get Frustrated and Angry; Christmas When There's Not Enough Money

Dec 4, 1995

I have a six year old boy who has a low frustration level, and gets angry easily when he's trying to do something that he can't. It gets especially bad when he's with teachers or baby-sitters. How can I equip him with skills to help him through times when he tries and fails and gets angry, when I'm not around? How can I help the teachers guide him through these times?
Joan M.

The method that my wife and I use for our children (one boy in particular) seems to be rather effective. When our four year old boy, Ranin, begins to throw a temper-tantrum, I call him over and gently take his hand in mine. Sometimes I'll put my arm around him or hug him as well. I then ask him, "Ranin, are you angry?" Of course he says "YES!" (With an awful scowl.)

I then do what I call "talking him down." I ask him a series of questions aimed at awakening his original heart of love, and aimed at helping him realize that it's wrong (or in your son's case "non-productive") for him to get angry. The questions are simple and step-by-step. "Why are you angry?" "Is it good to be angry?" "Do you like true love?" "Are you a boy of true love?" "Would you like to smile at me, now?" "If it's wrong to be angry, would you like to say sorry to me for getting angry?" "Let me see your 'warm love eyes!'"

The question method is a technique that we use to awaken Ranin's heart so that we can educate him about the beauty and warmth of loving others. Long range results require this "education of heart", in my opinion. Teaching our children to overcome anger through a self-examination of their own heartistic situation will have a wonderful effect on their lives.

The exact questions depend on the situation. Your son might need questions such as, "Do you want to make a beautiful picture?" "What's your idea?" "Can you imagine what it looks like?" "Would you like to have some fun with drawing?" "Let's try again!"

The situation with your son is slightly different from Ranin's, with your son's anger blocking his self-confidence and creativity. The lesson, though, is the same. Anger is destructive, and "guided or self-guided reflection" is helpful to work through it.

Your son may not be able to overcome by himself in the short run, especially when he's with people other than yourself. You can, however, suggest to his teachers or baby-sitters that they use the "question" method when he gets angry.

Every Christmas my children see a lot of their friends receiving expensive gifts from relatives and from their parents. Our family is low-income and we can't afford expensive gifts. We don't have any relatives to send anything. I don't want to accept charity, and I don't think I'll be able to put many gifts under the tree. How can I make sure my young children still have a nice Christmas, and don't get too jealous of their friends?

There's nothing quite like the pain that families and individuals can feel at Christmas, when their difficult situation (whether lack of family or lack of money) becomes unhappily obvious. Since you don't have adequate funds at this time to give your children as many gifts as you would like, I suggest that you make up for it with something that they'll value even more as the years go by.

After you have spent the money that you can afford, on as many gifts as you can buy, plan some special activities (such as caroling or looking at Christmas lights) with your children that are free, or cost very little. Focus on expressing your heart to your children in many special ways (all free), so that their memory of this Christmas may surpass the other, more affluent Christmases. Take them places, be with them, give them special attention and love, talk to them about the spirit and love of the original Christmas. Shower them with your invisible heart, and let them know that, although you don't have much money to buy them gifts this year, every gift they receive is an expression of your limitless love for them.

After all, when they are grown, will they remember the toy -- or the love that they received from their parents? I believe that this Christmas could be their best one yet.

Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”

~ Deus est auctor amoris et decoris. ~

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Peter Falkenberg Brown
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