One of the best areas to focus on with parents or teens in an at risk relationship is aggression replacement. The ability to recognize that you are getting angry is the first step to replacing an aggressive act. Let’s look at some facts first; anger is the first emotion we feel those very first moments of life. This is why babies cry. Think about this, you are chilling in a nice warm, cozy and comfortable home for nine months. You have as much safety and food as you are ever going to have and you are as close to mom as you will ever be. Then comes a violent and painful squeeze through a tiny hole into a bright and cold world, where people are poking, squeezing and touching every inch of your body. Yes, anger is the first emotion that we learn.
Now that we know anger is first, let us all agree that feeling angry is not only natural but good for us. What happens after you are angry is what gets most of us in trouble. We are as humans quick to act upon our anger in a negative way as we have a built in defense system. This is where the aggression replacement comes into play. We have to train our minds to control our emotions. This is no different that a bodybuilder trains their muscles. At first it is hard and we think about quitting many times but then growth happens and we see results. This in turn motivates us to work harder and grow bigger.
What are some things we can work on to replace our anger? First, we have to know our triggers. These are things that get us mad. This can be a word, person or anything we don’t like. Next we need to be in tune with our cues. Cues are the hairs standing up on your neck of the tingling on the top of your head that comes when you are mad. This is the tip off that we are about to explode and we need to find reducers. Reducers are the things that help calm us down like, music or counting in our heads. At this point it is time to focus on reminders. For parents this can be our kids or for the children it can be detention. Reminders are those things that remind us of something we might lose of a conscience that we may get if we are to act aggressively. Lastly, it is time to choose a different way to handle anger other than aggressively.
This is the choose, plan, do stage. We want to choose an alternative to aggression. Make a plan as to how to carry out this action and finally do what we have chose. Sounds simple, right? Well, it take a lot of practice and training to get down. It is just like the bodybuilder who works for strength and muscle memory. With practice and execution you can master the [ART] of Aggression Replacement Training. See what I did there!
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