We want to promote kindness and non-violence, but sometimes it is not enough to tell a child to “be nice” or “don’t hit.” Children need an outlet, and they often need a bridge to get from overwhelmed into their centered-self. I will post another L.O.V.E. Parenting technique which contains many in-the-moment alternatives to hitting, biting, pulling, kicking, throwing, and spitting, soon. In the meantime, I want to offer the L.O.V.E. Parenting Mad Bag, which can help a young child transition out of their frustration.
The mad-bag honors the child’s frustration, offers comfort and ultimately, helps a child deliver himself to the other side of his upset feelings. Prepare and explain the Mad-Bag ahead of time as a resource your child can go to when she is angry and upset.
Contents of the L.O.V.E. Parenting Mad-Bag:
Honoring the Anger:
- A journal with a black crayon for scribbling and a black pen for writing and drawing. Depending on your child’s age, she can depict the incident in an illustration, write some of the key words or story, or just purely scribble out her emotion.
- Scrap paper for ripping to shreds; a visceral release.
Bridging to the other side:
- A power stone: a rock, crystal or stone that your child has picked out, smooth to the touch, comforting and empowering.
- An animal that he resonates with: a stuffed animal or figurine. You can write down the associated qualities of the animal to inspire your child to connect with these qualities within.
- A photobook: a small collection of photos of figures in your child’s life that inspire feelings of safety, calm, connection and being loved.
Activities for Inner-Connection: Once your child has transitioned out of the storm, it is nice to offer a few activities to continue the inner-calm you are fostering with the Mad-Bag:
- A picture book or story book
- A small puzzle
- An activity book
- A doll or play figure, especially one that inspires creative play with an open-ended story.
Ultimately, you want to offer your child an outlet for expression of his feelings and tools to move through his painful emotions. As well, it is important for you to follow up with root causes of your child’s frustration and support her appropriately.