April 7, 2016


We are reproducing this Mr Roger’s article especially for grandparents who in their interaction with their grandchild(ren), can sense mad and angry behavior.  There is much to be angry about these days and there is so much anger all around us. Even though this article was directed at parents, it certainly applies to us, the grandparents and great-grandparents of the world. Although the article may seem more directed to younger children, many of these suggestions will be appropriate for school age children.  We hope that these wise words will help direct “the Mad” into positive actions and reactions.

 (Reprinted with permission from the Fred Rogers Company) 

Almost everyone gets mad sometimes. That is just part of being human, whether you are a grownup or a child.

When do we get mad?  Usually when we feel helpless or left out or frustrated.
So it is not wonder children get angry lot....and angry with people who are closest to them, like parents and friends.

When young children do get angry, they sometimes hit or bite or kick.  That doesn't mean they are "bad".  That is just how they show they are mad. They do not have words to tell us how they feel.

Human beings are not born with self-control.  We have to learn what to do with the mad we feel.  Learning to control ourselves is a long, hard process.  It happens little by little.  In fact, it is something we work on all through our lives.

Children Learn Self-control In  Everyday Ways.
Find time to listen to your child.  That says "I want to help you talk about your feelings--- the easy ones and the hard ones."

Praise your child for small moments of control, like for trying something hard, taking turns or waiting.

Children learn from your example.  When you use words to talk about your angry feelings, they see that there are things people can do when they are mad that do not hurt.

Everyday Rules and Routines Help Children Develop Controls.
Make rules that are simple and clear.  When children can repeat a rule, they can remember better.  Some families have rules like:
            "You hit, you sit."
            "Use your words, don't hit."
            "It's okay to be angry. but it's not okay to hit."
Try to stick to the rules.  Rules help children feel safe.  But children will test and challenge rules.  Somewhere deep within them, they are hoping that you will stop them from breaking the rules.  They know you will keep them safe.

Children Get Scared When They Are So Mad They Get Our Of Control
Try to help your child calm down.  You may have to try different things to find out what works for your child.  And that will change as your child grows.

When children get angry, sometimes parents get angry too, and that makes the children more upset than ever.  If you can stay calm but firm, your child may be more able to get back into control.

When Children Use Words, They Are Less Likely To Hit
Children who can say, "I'm really mad" have a good way to get their feelings out--through words.

Words help your child say what is wrong.  Then you may be able to understand why he or she is angry.  Just knowing you care can help your child feel better.

Talk with your child about different ways people handle their mad feelings in everyday situations like in things that happen in school, with friends, or on TV programs.

Children Feel Good When They Are Able to Stop.
If your child is ready to hurt someone, try to be right there to help her or him to stop.  Then your child will  know what if feels like to stop.

Each time your child starts to hit or kick ------ but stops, your child learns how good it feels to have control.

Children Can Express Their Feelings in Ways That Do Not Hurt.
Children have lots of energy.  That energy can be so bottled up inside them that
it explodes into hitting and kicking.  Help your child get out some of that energy in everyday ways with physical things like:
  • dancing or stomping
  • playing at a playground
  • pounding play clay 
Children can find many ways to express all kinds of feelings with creative things like:
  • drawing pictures
  • making music or making up songs
  • making up stories or playing with toys
Knowing safe, healthy ways to show feelings will help children through their lives.