We've had tricky times at home since school started back. Perhaps I should have expected it, chucking an introvert back into the mainstream schooling system after a couple of months out. But not to this extent. The vitriol, the viciousness of her angry comments - never directed at anyone AT school, but unleashed in a fury, usually to me, her mother, in the home, where she feels safe, I guess.
We've been dealing with FirstSister's anger management issues since she was tiny, they are certainly not easy, but her temper is a part of her development and we aim to deal with it lovingly. Never mind that I cannot bear the noise of wails and screaming, that having insults screamed at me gets my adrenalin pumping and I want to respond in kind. Each new phase that evolves (and she is a wonderful, pleasant, amazing girl most of the time) requires new ground rules and an action plan by my husband and I on how to react to and discipline and deal with the problem.
I won't go into detail about how we do that, but I will say that any punishment we decide to dole out for anger - that hurts others with words or flying fists, or causes damage to the home in which we live - is not physical. Having learned to bottle up my own anger when young, I didn't want to go down the fear route. We reinforce that it's OK to be angry, and to need time alone to calm down. But there are of course consequences if a child's anger impacts negatively on others.
I remember looking at the Michael and Debi Pearl's website on how to train children to behave, just to find out about why many consider it abhorrent. (I do not wish my website to link to theirs, so you won't find the address here.) I looked for an example that was pertinent to our family - how would you stop a young pre-schooler who screams. Their answer was unequivocal - such a child merely needed hitting with a switch every time that behaviour happened, and it would soon stop.
That's as maybe, but I would never use or advocate such a method. I'm choosing to love my angry child, however exhausted my patience or self may be, and I believe if you love someone, you do not deliberately inflict violence upong them. She never gets to think that behaviour that damages others is acceptable, but she doesn't have it whipped out of her. It distresses me no end to think that children similar to her in temperament are punished with violence for the way that they are made. I thank God that we as parents were sent a child who may not be easy to raise, but has parents who understand her anger issues, rather than responding unquestioningly to them with smacking or hitting.