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Kids Room General How do we teach boys to deal with anger and aggression?
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How do we teach boys to deal with anger and aggression?
It seems to me that one of the hardest, and most important, tasks for parents of boys is to teach them how to deal with anger. When to be aggressive. When to back off. How to express anger. Does masculinity mean hitting back or walking away, and in what measure?

Of course it's an issue for every person, not just (little) boys; still, the social pressure on boys around violence, anger, etc is obviously strong. They have a lot to deal with, and it begins immediately. How do we support them? (Note: I don't have boys of my own, but several close friends do, and this is a major question in my circle. It's also one with political ramifications: a generation of healthy men would mean an entirely different society.) Women, what do we hope for from this new generation of boys and how can we help? Men, how did you learn to use this energy of aggression and anger, and with what results?
I’m loath to join the gender war.  But Mia’s valid concerns about teaching boys how to deal with anger can be elaborated, including girls.  Can girls be taught an alternative model to replace conspiracy and drama?

More broadly, society wide do we physically revolt, or do we sow the seeds of anguish so a repressive regime disintegrates from within?

More narrowly, how do we get ourselves to change from within?

Both female and male models have their ineffective extremes.

Practically, I think we should show, not teach, our children how often mere attentiveness solves problems.  That stepping out of the way solves the vast majority of our problems. 

I have a friend whose father feared that he would kill someone with his anger.  In the yard they went toe to toe.  My friend went violent, blind rage, a windmill.  His father didn’t have to be very fast.  He dodged the telegraphed punches, ducked.  The air was a rage… then my friend down, a single blow to the chin.  Cheap lesson:  you’re angry, you lose.   Applies to women and men alike.

In response to ted berryman
If your friend had dodged, ducked, and backpedaled until his son was a snotty exhausted mess he might have taught him that violence is not the answer.
A great way would be to teach them an art. Whether it's music playing, painting, or writing, they all help you deal with anger in a much more productive way. They help you to assimilate it and not have to dispose of it  or have it eat you. That is, they can be seen like food supplements that help you digest food that otherwise gives you a stomach ache. Many parents prefer sports, and this seems even more prevalent in the US, but I feel sports are less useful than the arts for this purpose, besides martial art where self control is so critical, as in Ted's story. On that vein, letting your kids see Star Wars may also teach them the importance of self control.

The discussion on What are possible ways for young kids in particular, and people in general, to express themselves? can also give some ideas.

Your question, as you indeed state, is pertinent to all of society which is trying to figure this question out. As was discussed here on the ending of Watchmen, should society relinquish violence, or is that an important part of our being human. I feel the rejection of anger and violence can also be dangerous.
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Latest Post: September 6, 2011 at 1:50 AM
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