What’s the best way to teach your child to manage their anger? One good answer might be: Gently explaining to them how to mindfully accept, release, and describe the terms of their anger (1).

Just ask Randy Gaines of Kettering, Ohio, who has recently become famous for guiding his 6-year-old daughter through her anger in a healthy way. In a now-viral video, which has accrued over 4 million views since December 2nd, Randy teaches his daughter to accept, process, and act on her anger in a constructive way (2).

“You don’t always have to be happy,” Randy tells his daughter in the video taken by his wife, Deceena Gaines (2, 3). “The important thing is – whenever you’re feeling that way – to not just stay there all the time. You want to accept it, you want to honor it, you want to acknowledge it, and let it go.

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Witness this gentle father’s lesson on anger management for yourself:

Randy’s Story: A Father’s Lesson on Anger Management

On December 2nd, the Gaines – a family of six –  was planning to go out on a walk when Randy noticed that his 6-year-old was upset (3). As it turned out, Randy had made her angry by calling her “Moody Moose Buttons” – a usual pet name of hers, derived from a book they had read together (3).
Randy’s response, however, was not to tell her to “get over it” or ask why she reacted differently to her name that day.
Rather, Randy proceeded to acknowledge and validate her anger – and to explain the situation.
“You’re still loved and you’re still safe. It’s okay to feel this way,” Randy began (2). “I was just teasing you, honey, I didn’t mean anything by it… It’s okay to joke sometimes, isn’t it? [But] sometimes, it’s not so fun. I respect you and your feelings.”
Then, Randy told her how to explain and deal with her anger like a problem-solver, and how to find a solution to the problem making her angry.
“It’s important to talk about [the problem making you angry] so that I know that’s your boundary and I respect it and I won’t push past it,” he clarified (2). “If it’s not okay to joke with you today, then I won’t do it, but you have to tell me first. Just let me know so that I don’t do it, okay?”
Randy also listed some healthy ways she can vent her anger and excess energy, noting (2):  “Sometimes, you can stop and yell and punch a pillow. […] Let’s take a good walk, and you can run that off, run your anger off, kick some dirt – whatever you need to do to get through it and make you feel better, okay?”
Finally, Randy ended his brief lesson on anger management with the apology he owes his daughter – and the perfect ending to a good father-daughter talk.
“I’m sorry,” he said, before kissing her (2). “I love you.”
Deceena, who filmed the touching lesson, then uploaded the video on Facebook with a caption that expresses her love and appreciation for her wise husband (2):
“My heart explodes when he connects to his girls like this… No yelling. No screaming. Talking. Discussing emotions and why we have such feelings. […]I am so blessed and so thankful to have this man as my other half. Our girls are blessed to have him as their father.”
The lesson of the video? Gently validating and explaining emotions, boundaries, and how to handle them can effectively teach anger management.

The Response

With 4 million views and counting,  the video of Randy’s gentle lesson to his daughter has amassed overwhelmingly positive responses from its viewers.
One popular comment for the video reads: “The most important lesson he taught her [is that] SHE has boundaries and HE respects them. From that simple statement and his actions to follow, she will have the confidence to set those boundaries for the rest of her life! Awesomeness!” (2)
Several comments below, another viewer remarked: “Oh how I wish someone would have had that conversation with me when I was that little… This conversation is amazing to me and [it’s] one so many people need to have.” (2)
All in all, the 5,3000+ comments on Deceena’s video speak volumes about how much children could benefit from the use of gentler, mindful parenting techniques when learning about anger management.

Tips for Teaching Anger Management

parenting anger management

If you’re looking to teach your child healthy ways of managing anger yourself, try these tips and resources:

So the next time your child feels upset, do as Randy did – and try your best to gently guide them through the how and why of their anger like a problem-solver!

Sources:

  1. Crescentini, C., Capurso, V., Furlan, S., & Fabbro, F. (2016). Mindfulness-Oriented Meditation for Primary School Children: Effects on Attention and Psychological Well-Being. Frontiers in Psychology7, 805. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00805
  2. Facebook.com. (2017). Love What Matters: D.G.. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/lovewhatreallymatters/videos/1762929710396086/ [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].
  3. Whio.com. (2017). Kettering father and daughter video go viral.. [online] Available at: http://www.whio.com/news/local/local-father-emotional-heart-warming-talk-with-daughter-goes-viral/OttI7MoNkLBTSDX7VUmYbP/ [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].
  4. Gross, G. (2017). Do’s and Don’ts of Teaching Your Child to Cope with Anger. [online] HuffPost. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gail-gross/dos-and-donts-of-teaching-your-child-to-cope-with-anger_b_3202744.html [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].
  5. Markham, L. (2017). When Your Child Gets Angry. [online] Ahaparenting.com. Available at: http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/emotional-intelligence/angry-child [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].
  6. Amazon.com. (2017). When Sophie Gets Really, Really Angry. [online] Available at: https://www.amazon.com/Sophie-Angry-Really-Really-Scholastic-Bookshelf/dp/0439598451/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1513104610&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=When+Sophie+Gets+Angry-Really%2C+Really+Angry [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].
  7. Amazon.com. (2017). The Case of the Prickly Feelings. [online] Available at: https://www.amazon.com/Case-Prickly-Feelings-Lynn-Namka/dp/1483924661/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1513104525&sr=8-12&keywords=parent+teach+emotions&refinements=p_72%3A2661618011 [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].
  8. Amazon.com. (2017). How to Raise Happy Kids. [online] Available at: https://www.amazon.com/How-Raise-Happy-Kids-child-rearing-ebook/dp/B072FMMLTH/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1513104525&sr=8-7&keywords=parent+teach+emotions&refinements=p_72%3A2661618011 [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].

Image and video sources:

  1. Facebook.com. (2017). Love What Matters: D.G.. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/lovewhatreallymatters/videos/1762929710396086/ [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].

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