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Helping Teens Manage Anger

Training to Help Teens Manage Anger And Resolve Conflicts Peacefully: P.E.A.C.E. Inc.
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Young People’s Perspective On The Tragedy in Tucson as they were asked the question:

“ What would you do to prevent something like this from happening to other young people?”

MZ-19- Mohegan Lake, N.Y,
thought for a minute and said that the quote, “ I wouldn’t say a single word to them. I would listen to what they had to say, and that ‘s something no one did” taken from an interview with Marilyn Manson, (punk rock singer, someone who many feel records songs that lead to violence, etc.), made in response to the question, ” If you were to talk directly to the kids at Columbine or the people in that community, what would you say to them if they were here right now?” was “a good thought.”

KD-17-Bronx, N.Y.
“If he had somebody to talk to, who he could trust, is something this young man felt may have prevented Jared Lee Loughner from shooting the congresswoman and the other innocent bystanders. When asked, What do you think anybody going through any of the stages he went through (girlfriend breaking up, dropping out of high school, getting into drugs, dissatisfaction with the government, having his question unanswered by Congresswoman Giffords), would prevent another person, not him, from really going off the deep end?” This young man replied, “A way to prevent that would be talking to somebody, before in your mind you speak to yourself, maybe you should express how you feel to somebody before you go ahead and take actions on your own”. When interviewer tried to sum up this young man’s opinion by relating that if he, a person had someone to speak to, who really listened, he had someone to really talk to this kind of stuff wouldn’t happen. To which KD replied, “Because he would have felt better after talking to somebody. That person might have calmed him down and spoken to him and guided him down the right path”.

JT-20-Long Island, N.Y.
-Early intervention, for this young woman was the key for preventing this kind of reaction from taking place in other young people. Her comment was “If you know someone and see they are distraught over something and may start down a bad path, that’s when you start intervening.”  In response to the question asking if you were someone’s friend what would you do, she described that a friend who might see someone unable to think properly, and if this kind of situation continued and seemed to be getting worse, she expressed the need for seeking professional help for that person. Regarding others who should get involved in a situation where someone is dropping out of school or seems really upset, this college student also felt that the administration of the school should get involved and try doing some kind of follow up.

KF-28-Brooklyn, N.Y.
This young man felt the route to, preventing such behavior from occurring or reoccurring rested in education.  He described having the system, (educational) being responsible for providing “ Tactics” or giving different kinds of information to parents. KF spoke of giving parents a better angle or perception of situations and signs to look for in high school or middle school students who may be dropping out. In other words, as this young man put it, “Catch signs of an unhappy or unstable person.” He also mentioned community centers and recreational centers being available to give youth places to go, giving them outlets so that they don’t go in a negative direction where they would end up doing something destructive. He also expressed the idea that laws should not be changed but, in his words, “Changing society itself” To him this meant people becoming more comfortable with themselves. This would involve society making changes that aren’t seen on paper, like laws, These would involve reaching out more to the youth.  He continued, seeing major cuts in education as not the way to go, adding  “These things are more likely to happen in uneducated people” He continued to describe that these days often both parents have to work, leaving no one there for kids when they get home. He added that because of this fact in today’s world it is easier for youth to go towards their friends, who are there and often do the wrong thing, engaging in negative activities, “Sometimes”, he pointed out,  “Young people go to others, who are not their friends, but who they think are cool.” The idea of positive peers was also mentioned to this student. He related having peer mentoring and peer conflict resolution when he went to public school, but he thought these have also are no longer there because of cuts, to which he added, “It comes down to dollars and cents and politics”.  Another point that KF made was that young people need to seek the right kind of help when they are thinking so many difficult (confusing) thoughts, and that they need to get these ideas out to someone who could help them understand what they were thinking before they became things that they did. In other words, act on negative thoughts.

At a point during this interview this young man also saw that admittedly its really helpful for people to catch early signs of destructive behavior, but also recognized that some people and incidents occur because some people, whether they go to Harvard or other places are just unstable, without anyone able to guess that this was the way they would act.

JS-21-Piermont, N.Y.
This young woman thought the way to prevent terrible acts of violence was through early intervention. One thing she related was that a person may be helped within the school district before he/she reaches the point of dropping out.  The first people she described that should be involved in early intervention should be parents. They should be aware of the direction their child is taking or thinking of going, for example thoughts of dropping out, as well as being aware of their needs. Schools should be aware of violent behavior in class, or if students’ grades are dropping significantly. Observation by parents, schools and teachers is something JS felt strongly about. She also felt teachers should also be aware that grades are dropping or a student is not going to class regularly. Teachers are the ones that could these students aside and try to find out what was going on, looking possibly to referring them to someone to help, like counselors. She added, the fact that teachers see the children every day, and that young people spend a good part of their day in school.  She also added that many times kids behave well in the home and act out in school or vice versa.  These are things that are often not known by school staff or the family. During the course of the interview JS was also asked, “What could friends do?” She responded by relating that a friend is, “ Hard pressed to help the another young person get counseling services” What she thought she could do as a friend was to listen to the other person, something she feels is really important and hear what a person has to say, adding, “Not so much giving advice” She then recommended going with them, if the friend thought it was something they were willing to do, in some cases, walking or driving a friend to a counselor’s office. She also described suggesting to friends who are going through something really difficult to write things down. JS remarked, “When something significant happens, write it down, because you don’t keep it in your head and are able write it down, look at it from different angles” This, she added,  “Calms your mind, because you see it on paper. On paper you may also be able to let go of it .T his way you don’t’ have to keep all your thoughts in your head”.

You have a problem and want to talk about it with another person. All that you want from the other person is for them to listen to you. However, they keep giving you advice and try to help you to solve your problem. You get more frustrated and don’t listen to what they are telling you to do. This person becomes angry with you because you are not going to follow their advice. What do you do? PF-New City, N.Y.

This is a really common situation to many people of all ages. Before beginning to tell this other person about the problem you are having, tell them straight out that all you want from this person is for them to listen to you. It is what you need and want at this point. This is something teens related to me as a high school guidance counselor remarking, “All I want is my mother to listen to me. I don’t want her advice.”

Another way to handle this situation is to cut the other person off when they are trying to give you advice or criticize you, and tell them that all you want from them is to get what’s bothering you off your chest.

The same is true when someone comes to you with their problem. When they come to you, ask them whether they want your opinion or advice, or just want you to listen to what they have to say.

Letting people know directly what you want from them is a great way of being able to really feel comfortable talking to others and having them feel easy about talking with you. It also prevents misunderstanding and allows you both to speak freely without receiving unwanted advice or criticism.

If you have questions about situations or people in your lives and would like some ideas about dealing with them feel free to send them to, peacefulyouth422@yahoo.com.

How do you deal with people who won’t listen to what you have to say even if you know what you are telling them is good for them? GB-Rye, N.Y.

If someone doesn’t want to hear what you have to say or listen to your advice, just leave it be. The only thing that you can do is accept that the other person’s way of thinking is different from yours and they aren’t interested in hearing other ideas. Pushing your beliefs or ideas on others does nothing for your relationship with them except make things more difficult between you and they. Accepting the way the other individual thinks or believes about something says to them, “I respect your thinking. It may be different from the way I think or feel, but it’s okay. This shows respect for the other person and will go along way toward keeping your relationship with them secure.

How do you help yourself get ready for dealing with a situation that you know will stress you and the other person out? TA-Rye, N.Y.

Before entering such a situation you need to be able to think about what you are going to say rather than just rushing into it when you are upset.

The key to getting yourself ready for such a tense situation is to make yourself feel as relaxed as you can. One way to loosen yourself up is to take five deep breaths and shake your hands and body. Another way to reach this state of calm is to think of something or someone who makes you smile, of a really pleasant experience that you have had, or a place that made you feel relaxed (Visualizing or having a picture of yourself at a beach, in the country surrounded by swaying trees, feeling a soft breeze, while laying on a blanket looking up at the sky). Some people like to listen to music.

How do you decide when to let something go or deal with it? CT-Purchase, N.Y.

If you choose to deal with the issue straight out there are two goals to accomplish. The first is to tell the other person how his or her actions made you feel. The second is to let this person know the effect this action had on you.

One way to accomplish this objective is to use the “I Statement.”

“I felt angry (your feeling) when you yelled at me in front of other people(the behavior) because (the reason for the feeling) it embarrassed me.

This method allows you to express your feeling without blaming the other person and causing more problems between the two of you. It also gives the other person the opportunity to understand what’s going on that caused problems between you and them. Many times this person may not realize the effect of their words or behavior had on you. This approach may help to prevent this person from acting like this again.

Even if this person doesn’t seem to understand why you are upset, or seem to care, you’ve given yourself the chance to let your feelings out rather than let them build up inside of you.

If you don’t deal with the situation, you may find that it effects your attitude, not only towards the person who caused the feeling in you, but also to other people you care about.

© Peaceful Route