My son enjoyed playing tennis as he was growing up, and actually, he was quite good on the courts. He went to practice three days each week and competed in junior level tournaments throughout the year. My son practiced with a group of kids whom I got to know well. One boy always wore a cap with a hidden zipper pouch. Inside the pouch he stashed some sweet sugar candies, known as Smarties. The boy was afflicted with Diabetes, and the candies were there in case he had a sudden drop in his sugar level. My son thought this emergency kit was really cool and he wanted an emergency kit, too! However, as a mom who is aware of her son’s personality, I knew that my son needed a different kind of emergency kit. Often my son demonstrated a very bad temper on the tennis courts. So I started thinking of what kind of anger management kit I could develop to help my son manage this destructive behavior.
This anger management kit wouldn’t be filled with just material products, I decided, but instead would be filled with behavior strategies and nutrition suggestions that could be implemented before a match and when his temper began to flair. Although these suggestions apply specifically to sports competition, the advice provides useful life lessons.
- Eat Well. Start the day by having a nutritious breakfast to provide energy and keep blood sugar stable. Have nutritious snacks available to eat when energy level is low. Drink plenty of fluids.
- Maintain Positive Focus. Stop negative self-talk that is self-destructive and increases anger level. Concentrate on each point and forget about previous mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, and self-confidence is the most important part of competition.
- Stay in charge. Yes, sometimes an opponent will cheat or will be aggravating on purpose. Move on. Focus on the game strategy and block out these distractions. Don’t let an opponent be in charge of your actions.
- Take a Break. Sometimes anger can gain an upper hand and regrouping is necessary. When this happens, take a few moments between games. Turn and walk away from the court and take 3 deep breaths to calm down again. Gaining self-control is essential and a good way to start again.
Does your child have an anger problem? What would you add to this anger management kit?