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Mad Isn't Bad
Feelings like happiness and sadness, fear and anger are all part of being alive and being you. Go ahead and feel your feelings. It's good to be you!
You might think it's bad to be angry, but that's not true. It's normal to feel angry when you think you are not being treated fairly. It's how you show your anger that can sometimes be a problem for you or those around you.
Mad Can Even Be Good
Anger is like fire. Fire is good when it keeps us warm and helps us cook food. But fire can sometimes get out of control.
Anger can be good when it makes you want to do something about a bad situation. It can give you energy to work harder to solve a problem or to get that project right. When your team is losing a game, anger can put more power behind that swing or kick. Anger can help you to tell someone what's bothering you, so you can work together to work things out.
What Makes You Mad?
Sometimes you may think you have to be perfect. You might get angry when you can't do something as well as someone older.
People may do or say things that make you angry, even though they might not know they're hurting you.
Sometimes you might feel frustrated when you can't fix a problem or change a bad situation. And sometimes things just go wrong. It's not anybody's fault.
It helps to know exactly what you're mad at. You might be mean to the cat because you really are still mad at the kid who was mean to you at recess.
What Does "Mad" Feel Like?
Anger can make you feel like you're going to explode. Your face feels hot, you breathe faster, and your heart beats faster. Your hands want to grab, hit, or throw something, and your feet want to kick or run. Your voice wants to yell or cry.
Anger gives you energy. Try to think of some safe ways to use that energy without hurting yourself, others, or other people's things.
Why You Need to Let Out Your Anger
Unless you let out your anger in a safe way, you may just keep blaming someone else or yourself—and stay mad. This doesn't feel good and gets you nowhere with the problem.
Anger can be "catching." If you get mad and throw something or hit someone, the other person might get angry, too. You'll end up feeling worse instead of better.
But if you can find good ways to let out the energy of anger, you'll feel better. You might even find yourself laughing later at what you must have looked or sounded like!
You Can CHOOSE What to Do
Anger can be scary when you don't know how to handle it. But you can make choices about what to do with your anger. You can yell and throw a fit—or you can stay calm. If you are able to stay calm, you will be able to act in a fairer and smarter way.
When something makes you angry, you don't have to do something about it right then. Stop and count to ten (or 100!) and THINK about the best thing to do or say.
It's natural to want to blame someone else for making you angry. But YOU are the one who's angry, and YOU are the one who can do something about it. Think about what made you mad. Ask yourself what you can do to feel better.
Excerpted from Mad Isn't Bad by Michaelene Mundy, R. W. Alley. Copyright © 1999 Michaelene Mundy. Excerpted by permission of Abbey Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted May 8, 2003
Enough of the pop-psych! This book bores my kids. It also bores me. There's no plot, no story, nothing. So many children's books try to be self-help books that are geared for adults. Most kids don't need this and don't want this. I also disagree with the way the whole subject is handled in this book. One example, 'it's okay to be mad at God.' I don't want to teach that to my kids. This is just another one of those books with a message, no plot, no in-depth characters, and so forth. I once read that books that do not stir a child's imagination are a waste of time. This book is a waste of time. My suggestion - try to avoid all the self-help/pop pscyh trends, and go for the REAL books, books with a good story line.
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