In the last few weeks with our kiddos downtown, we have had TWO different incidents where kids have been in a fight, or just plain mad, and tried to bash in someone's head with a rock or brick. I mean really? Isn't that a little extreme?
I am continually baffled by the inability of these kids to control their emotions, particularly anger. Now, I have heard that anger is a secondary emotion - easier to handle than hurt, sadness, embarrassment etc . . . It's really the only emotion these kids will allow themselves to exhibit (because it's the only one they won't be made fun of for). And when they feel it - they REALLY feel it. In other words, the emotion completely takes over and they seem powerless to control or stop it.
We've noticed that many of the kids exhibit identical "symptoms" every time they lose their temper (as a result of being embarrassed, getting their feelings hurt, being disrespected etc). Their body shakes, while tears course down their cheeks, and they breath loudly in quick, shallow breaths. Literally, the only way to get them to listen to reason and calm down is to hold them close. And keep holding them until their breathing slows and their heart stops pounding. Then, and only then, can they do anything resembling listening to reason (like, for example, that smashing heads in with bricks is not the best way to fix your problems).
Now that we've discovered how to get them to calm down, all we need to do is figure out how to have them unlearn 10 or so years of people telling them that their fists solve everything, that talking nicely isn't all that important, and that fighting is both natural and desirable. I mean, should be easy right?