popi_gwSeptember 2, 2008

I watched a tv show last night about rage and why people go into rages, and what to do about it. I am talking about angry outbursts that can lead to extreme events such as violence.

One point that really stuck with me is that when a person feels that they are not being heard, this can be one of the contributing factors to an angry outburst.

Hearing this took me back to my teenage daughter, many years ago, we had had a difficult time with the normal teen problems. She was upset about something and stormed off to her bedroom,slamming her door, I was also upset, so I thought it best to let her calm down. I went into her room a little later on, and she had torn off every poster from her wall and torn them into tiny pieces, there was little bits of paper everywhere. She was sitting on the floor sobbing.

I realize, now, that her rage was because she felt she was not being heard, I can see this so clearly now, and it makes me feel very sad that I didn't know that then.

Perhaps this can help others in their communication with their children. In understanding why they do things.

It's amazing when you have the benefit of hindsight, you can clearly see how you should have managed things a bit better.

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The most important job we have is raising our children and we have no training at all for it. I was a very good mom when my children were small, but had no idea what to do when they became teenagers. I think most of us just do the best we can and I think it is especially hard when one of the parents is not active in the child's rearing. Two minds are always better than one.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 10:19PM
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I bet this actually goes on more than people will admit. I think it's alienating for the person on the receiving end of the rage, but knowing this could further understanding. And it could help with loads of situations, not just kids. But those delicate little egos are easily bruised and the ones most in need. I'll keep it in mind.

Star, I think having two minds can be beneficial most of the time. Sadly, I think some parents out there cause or exacerbate problems, and a child would be better off without their participation.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 9:07AM
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I've known a few people in my life who were given to blind seemingly uncontrollable rages. I avoid close contact with them as much as possible. I think "rages" are terribly immature behavior patterns.
My way of dealing with such a person is to ignore the rage. They do have a choice and the sooner they learn to exercise self control the bettert hey will get along in this world.
If everyone flew into a rage everytime they felt no one was paying attention, this would be a sorry world indeed.
I have a grandson who has multiple disorders, including autism. One of the first thing the special ed teachers worked on and stressed for the family to worrk on was allowing him to experience the consequences of his own actions if he threw a tantrum.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 3:38PM
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I have been thinking about my example, above. In my Daughter's case, her feelings of not being heard, grew over time. With the strains of the teen years, I think this pattern of her not being heard, happened because of the way she interacted with us.

She would be demanding, disrespectful, ask for things that I was not prepared to give her...this led to me being pretty dismissive of her requests and perhaps tuning out for a long time. Probably as a way of coping with the stress of it all.

I can see, now, I should have been more mindful of what was going on and made absolutely sure that all communication was open, no matter what she said. Made her feel that I was hearing her words, but I wasn't going to act on them !

I am fortunate in that I have child no:2 in the throws of 16 and I am making sure I "listen" even though it's a "chore" sometimes.

In the tv program, I mentioned above, I was very impressed to see a class of children (around 11 years old) being instructed (in a fun way), on how to recognise their own feelings in relation to anger and rage. They were also taught ways to deal with those feelings (listing to their ipods,going for a walk, punching a cushion etc) in a healthy way.

There are many examples of unhealthy consequences of rage, and anger in our community and I think its really heartening to see this education in schools.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 7:00PM
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BUT...when talking about teenagers, you have to remember that to a teenager, being heard, and being listened to means agreeing with them. I don't know how many arguements I had with my children where they would tell me I'm not listening to them, I would repeat word for word what they told me, then tell them that I didn't agree, but that didn't mean I didn't listen. On the otherhand, my children never went into a rage. THIS IS NOT TO SAY my kids were angels. Far from it, just never went into a rage.

One way to make sure your child knows you've heard them (my kids hated this by the way) is to say...I understand blah blah blah (repeating their words), but I disagree or but the answer is still no, or whatever. This way they know you were listening, they were heard, and they're still not getting their way. Also talking in a normal volum voice, not yelling (or actually getting quieter)..Don't know how many times my kids said quit yelling at me, of course that prompted the "yelling at you, YELLING AT YOU, DO YOU WANT TO HEAR ME YELL AT YOU...you get the picture.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 7:11PM
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LOL - yeah, I have to agree with you there, Vicky - "being heard,and being listened to means agreeing".

What you described is "reflective listening" - excellent idea on how to deal with everyone.

I must remember to do that with my 16 year old. He tends to start yelling at ME, or rather raises his voice, when I don't agree with him !

Gosh every day is liking tiptoeing around a minefield, when it comes to teens !


    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 11:17PM
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Let's not underestimate the impact of hormones on their mood swings. I joked to someone recently that freshmen (do you have those rankings, Popi? That's 9th grade, about 14 y/o) are "kindergarteners on steroids." They are just as unpredictable emotionally, every day is a roller coaster, just like a 5 y/o. But the teen is much bigger!

I have more to talk about, but I've decided I'm too tired afterall to start what I was going to say tonight. See ya tomorrow.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 12:51AM
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My children didn't even go through the terrible twos, much less the disrespectful thing most do. BUT I am estranged from my younger son and my oldest one keeps his problems from me.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 9:53AM
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We are in family therapy working on "communication" because our daughter has anxiety and there's too much stress at home. being heard,and being listened to means agreeing The therapist mentioned this and commented that you just say something like "I heard you and understand your point, but the answer is still no."

We've also learned that when a person is talking to you, words are a very miniscule part of communication. Body language speaks more volume than words. The same is true for listening. In order to listen properly, one must look AT the "talker" while he's speaking, acknowledge that you are listening, not interrupt while he's speaking, and not thinking of your next argument/topic while he's speaking. You must give your TOTAL undivided attention.

We also learned about "communication barriers", which is when you blame, lecture, ridicule, etc. It's important to use the "I" statement (i.e. I feel that.... I worry that...) instead of the "You" statement (i.e. You make me feel... You always make me worry about you by....)

I remember more than once that I would HEAR my daughter talking to me, but I wasn't LISTENING to the words she was saying... until she started asking me "Okay, what did I just say?" then I would have to repeat it. LOL

I also remember my niece who had a hard time growing up. She commented on how parents just don't listen to their kids. They're too busy interrupting them or doing their own thing!

I once told my daughter when she was a preteen about writing her feelings down on paper when she gets angry, frustrated, etc. That it was a good way to relieve stress. One day she came stomping into the house, madder than hell! She had an argument with a close friend. She went straight into her room and started writing. She wrote 2 pages full about how her friend has been treating her, etc. She let me read it after she calmed down. She was mad at the whole world! She also said that she felt better, calmer, after she wrote it. It gave her a way to "vent" out her anger in a positive way!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 11:10AM
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this a great thread. thanks popi.

my DD sometimes complains that i do not listen, when I think of it, I do have to agree that i often do not listen. i notice that DD gets upset when she explain something and I look around or start doing somehting. she wants me to stop for at least a minute and look at her and attentivelly listen, but I have this habit of always doing somehting. even if I do listen, it looks like I don't. i have to remind myself to stop and look at her and make it obvious that i listen.

and yes she had rages when she was a teenager, slamming doors, screaming etc. she is grown so she does not do that anymore of course, but now i understand that there were things I could do differently too.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 7:51PM
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Sometimes it's hard work, actively listening to what someone is saying to you. Particularly with children, as young children are always chattering and it's exhausting "listening" all the time.

I find I really appreciate the people who are good listeners, and I want to be friends with those people !

Imagine how awful it is for a teen to always be confronted with a parent who does not show that they are listening.

It's such an important part of communication, I think.

Khandi - I think that is wonderful, your daughter writing her angry words down. A fantastic way of difusing a tense situation.

My son has said to me "you don't listen, you let me talk then you say something unrelated to what I am saying"...WELL, that was a wake up call for me. I realized, that I wasn't really listening to what he was saying !!

He is 16 and going through that anti establishment angst, anti society, very socially conscious person. Reads all about philosophy, I really have to do some reading to keep up with it all !! LOL.

Keep listening, girls.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 8:05PM
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I'd add that stat statement from your son to your list of "good parenting moments" Why...he told you ExACTLY what was wrong, not something easy for a teenager to always focus on and pinpoint. Not just a "You're not listening", but Why, and how I know, or at least, what makes me feel like you're not listening. Really great! I predict you'll have a close relationship with your son through those teen years and beyond. You're teaching him how to communicate!

Reminds me of a parenting moment with my oldest daughter that I am proud of (don't have them often when their teenagers it seems at the time) We're in the middle of a arguement, who knows what it was now, I probably didn't agree with something she wanted to do, and she was REALLY ANGRY, she looked at me and said "I DON'T LIKE YOU VERY MUCH RIGHT NOW" I have never had my kids tell me "I hate you", that was the closest any ever came. My response to her was that she wasn't my favorite person right now either. BUT We'd (DH and I) had taught her to say what she felt, and it wasn't hate, because she still loved me, but you can love someone and still not really like them durring an arguement.

Sorry had to tell that story. Communication, being able to tell REAL feelings, before anger builds up so much you don't know what to do with it and damage (sometimes irrapairable) happens.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 7:20AM
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Well thanks Vickey, it's nice to get a pat on the back for being a good parent, doesn't happen very often !!

You are so right, it is a good way to diffuse angry outburst, telling people about how you feel. But the person who is upset must feel like it's okay to do that, and not have the other person yelling back at them.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 8:24PM
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I agree that often our children confuse listening with "getting their own way."
With 3 children I've had my share of hearing that from the "mouths of my children." However, after a long bout of blaming me for everything he did wrong I started stopping him before he got to vent at my expense. I simply said: STOP-no excuses...he looked like he was going to pop-but held his words, forcing him to take accountability. That was when he was about eleven.
Another thing I used to use that worked for me when one of my children started yelling was the louder they yelled the softer and lower my voice became; they had to stop trying to talk over me, move in closer to hear me and calmed down because they were actually hearing what I was saying rather than what they presumed I was saying.
(plus, it changes the atmosphere).
As far as children saying what is on their mind; I also agree if in the process they don't slam dunk someone, or not take accountability for their actions.
Hope one of these help someone.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 12:08AM
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Children confuse listening with "getting their own way."
That is a true statement. I am going thru that alot with my son. Then when I try to sit and talk to him and he can't explain what he's feeling/ he's even told me that it doesn't make a diiference, that we always end up arguing. I have told him that it is nornal to have disagreements with each other. But I feel disapointed that he can't express it. I usually end up doing all that talking

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 5:16PM
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