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Family Life

Inside Out: Teaching Healthy Anger

We live in angry times. Faced with unhealthy public expressions of anger, parents have the important task of teaching children healthy ways to deal with their feelings of disappointment and frustration.   

“Anger can really be a monster,” says my guest Dorothy Greco in this week’s podcast. “If it’s not recognized and if we don’t deal with things, I think that it can result in a lot of broken relationships.”

Greco’s an author and photographer who’s written about the importance of helping children recognize and process their anger in her article “A Happy, Healthy (Angry?) Family.”

“You know, if anger goes subterranean for too long, there’re so many studies that have been done now that show that it can result in both chronic mental and physical health issues, such as depression or hypertension,” she says. “And I think that we would agree that most people, if they don’t express it, and if they just push it down, it can lead to bitterness, it can lead to cynicism. Lashing out is such a common form of anger these days.”

Listen in on our 14-minute conversation by choosing the LISTEN or DOWNLOAD icon above. We talk through a process for teaching children how to identify their angry feelings, discover a way that works for them to process those feelings, and then move forward choosing forgiveness over resentment.

Greco acknowledges that in the process of this kind of work with children, parents may learn--as she did--that even adults may have to work on processing anger in healthy ways. But Greco encourages forging ahead.

“There’s a lot at stake, but it’s never too late,” she says. “So I would just encourage people: don’t buy into that narrative that would say, ‘Oh, you know, it’s too late for you. You can’t figure out how to do this better.’ I think it’s never too late for us to learn how to grow.”

Read Greco’s article that inspired this conversation: A Happy, Healthy (Angry?) Family

 

Learn more about Dorothy Greco

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