Awesome man…

I wrote a while ago about Henry, my second son, and his bursts of anger that I was finding hard to deal with. I had a lot of emails and comments on my page about how other people were dealing with much the same issues. It was really good to know that I wasn’t alone even if that meant others were going through the same as me. Occasionally I’ll get an email asking how things I blog about are going and so I thought I’d give you a quick update on Henry.

The summer holidays started with Henry being quite volatile. He would erupt over the slightest of things and although I know he has anger issues and I wouldn’t want to dismiss that, being tired for Henry isn’t a good thing. Hubbie and I have had many chats over the past few months about how to help him through this stage and I do believe it is a stage as there is a gorgeously wonderful Henry inside him for most of the time who does make so many appearances it’s just that the angry Henry takes over sometimes and all niceties go right out of the window. I think it’s a little like the incredible hulk situation I mean, look at what happens to him when he gets angry though saying that at least henry doesn’t turn green…

We decided that we if Henry’s top blew we wouldn’t be cross, we wouldn’t shout at him (that makes things, if possible, a whole lot worse) that we’d just say that we’d noticed he was getting very upset and he should go upstairs to his room to calm down. We don’t shut the door or time him and he’s free to come down whenever he wants. We decided this to give him some power and choice as well as a strategy to deal with his feelings. At first he just blew his top, shouted ‘I hate you!!’, tried to throw punches and I had a bit of a job getting him to his room but once he was there I hovered around in the corridor almost to let him know I was there but that he needed to calm down as his behaviour wasn’t acceptable. He started to throw things in his room and I did doubt whether this was the best path for him. We’d talked about letting him punch a cushion and I’d even thought about making him one with a grumpy face but we thought that encouraging him to punch anything wouldn’t be helpful to him as in the real world the older he gets there aren’t always cushions at hand to punch.

After the first couple of weeks –remember it’s not every day so this isn’t as bad as it sounds – he began to go willingly and on some days even when I suggested he went upstairs as I could see he was getting upset. Each time I hung around just in case he needed me and I always chatted to him once he’d calmed down about what had made him so upset and was there anything we could change next time to stop it happening. I also mentioned it was okay to be angry as I believe it is as surely repressing emotions can have dire consequences as much as letting them come pouring out. I wanted him to know that we don’t want to change his fire and passion just let him manage it.

I have say that the outburst are getting fewer and we can sometimes head them off at the pass when they do. I am more in tune with him after closely watching his behaviour even though it may look like I’m just ironing! He knows if I ask him to go upstairs and calm down that I mean it to help him and se he’s happy too. He now doesn’t trash his room but gets his teddies out or wraps himself in his blanket and sucks his thumb and it’s these times I remember that he’s still very young. I’ve even found him asleep so I carefully pulled the door too and left him to have a nap. He clearly needed one at that time despite not having napped for a good 2 years.

I don’t believe in sending children to their rooms for allotted times and them only being allowed down once the allotted time has passed. Some children may need more time than their age in minutes and some can do with less and it’s not about my power over Henry to make him stay in a room until I let him out –which would make him even angrier and then we’d fight about that rather than the actual cause of why he’s so upset in the first place – it’s about henry learning to manage his own emotions using the safe parameters that I give him. He’s in control of how long he spends up there and the time he does as a result I believe is getting shorter and he’s even taken himself off upstairs when it’s all getting too much as he can now see what may happen if he doesn’t. I also feel that I am much calmer as I have a strategy to manage and help Henry. I no longer fly off the handle and get angry myself in fact the angrier he gets the calmer I become as I now have a clear direction in which to head him. Sometimes managing their behaviour is as much managing our responses and this consistent approach is really helping us both.

I gave him a book today for the start of school and I wrote a dedication for him in the front. Awesome Man is, as the title suggests, awesome in every way possible but he gets angry and has to deal with his anger as he knows he’s so strong he could hurt someone. He goes up to his bedroom to calm down and gives himself a hug and Henry said ‘I do that’ which I thought was fabulous. I said that he did and he was just as awesome as Awesome Man and for that I got a ‘Henry hug’ which means I am grabbed and find myself with him clinging to me fiercely as if his life depended on it…

I believe that we need to talk to children about their behaviour however young they may be. I don’t believe in naughty steps or their age converted to minutes spent on a given area as a consequence to bad behaviour. I believe in real life solutions that give the power to the child to manage their own behaviour however ‘namby pamby’ this may sound. Adults don’t have naughty steps; I certainly don’t spend 36 mins on the bottom stair when I’ve done something wrong and if children are taught that this is the way we deal with them -when do they learn to walk away, take 5 mins out from a situation and manage their own emotions?

Henry is a secret superhero just like in the book. He’s fab at fighting all the baddies that sneak up on him whenever and wherever they appear but Henry is also fabulous at knowing when he’s getting angry and walking away when he does and this in my book makes him my very own Awesome Man…




About littlewhitecottage

Emma is a qualified teacher with 14 years of teaching in many different settings. From teaching adults and children at a music school to choosing to work in a demanding primary school that was failing (which meant moving from an outstanding school – her colleagues were aghast!) to running her own sewing business for the last 5 ½ years teaching all ages how to sew: Emma loves to teach.
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One Response to Awesome man…

  1. cara says:

    Ohhhh. I know I don’t really know you Emma but so proud of you both.

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