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Helping children get along

Kids Count

As teachers, coaches and other professionals that regularly work with children will tell you, a child’s home life can have a dramatic influence on how the child behaves out in the world. One researcher described the influence of home in this way, connected children feel more secure and less angry than peers who are unconnected. The unconnected child functions from an interior conversation that is angry, fearful and often selfish.

I was running an adventure group and part of the first day was to step into the circle and say something about yourself. A young girl stepped into the circle and said, “Everyone is afraid of me and I like it that way.” I was taken aback by her revelation but quickly realized that she was being honest as the rest of the group avoided her. This amazing little girl had no insight into her own behavior and she suffered profound social isolation as a result.

If a child is raised in a home where there is plentiful anger the child may incorporate being angry as just how life is or the child may become angry because their general wellbeing is being threatened by the frequent presence of anger.

Frequently, children that live with angry caretakers will become withdrawn. They in essence, put on an angry face to protect themselves from what might be more angry people or actions. It isn’t difficult to see that a child would take these maladaptive steps in order to protect themselves and are often unable to understand that the behaviors that they have adopted make them even more vulnerable. Sadly, these children get sent many powerful negative messages from children and adults. Some responses are spoken and some are not. The angry child may be told to “stay away” or “you cannot play with us.”

Reach the writer at Hurlburt@wildblue.net

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