Conflict Resolution/Anger Management

Calling All Hotheads - Tips on Keeping Cool in an Angry World

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. It lets us know when something is wrong and makes us take action. It's when anger runs wild that people may become hostile, even violent.

Why Do People Get Angry?

  • "Nobody listens to me unless I get angry." - Some people feel that the only way they can get attention is to get mad, even if it means getting in trouble.
  • "It helps me get what I want." - Just like people who use anger to get attention, these people try to use anger to force others into giving them what they want.
  • "He/She dissed me." - People lash out when they feel they are being disrespected or treated unfairly. They may be insecure about themselves or sensitive to certain criticisms and insults.
  • "I just got frustrated." - Sometimes it's hard dealing with a lot of emotions, and we don't know how to express ourselves. The result is often frustration and sometimes rage.
  • "I was sick of him or her teasing me." - While many people may think teasing is harmless and just in fun, it can really get to people after awhile. As a result, they may lash out at the person who is teasing them.
  • "It's like I'm excited when I'm angry." - Anger makes our bodies produce more adrenaline. It may not be a pleasant experience, but it's definitely intense.

Getting a Grip

It doesn't matter whether you're a toddler going through the "terrible twos" or a grumpy older person, it's always a
good time to learn to cope with your temper.

Admit that you're angry.

It's hard to deal with something if you don't admit that it exists first. Try saying to yourself, "Okay, I'm really angry right now, but I'm not going to lose my cool. I'm going to deal with it."

Deal With It!

  • When you start feeling angry or frustrated, stop what you're doing. Take a few deep breaths. Count to 10 or 100.
  • Take a walk, stretch, laugh, go for a run, or do anything that takes your mind off the anger.
  • Don't brush it off.
  • Everyone gets angry sometimes ? it's perfectly normal. Ignoring your feelings doesn't solve the problem and may make things worse in the long run. Don't reject your anger as irrational or without reason. Instead, try to figure out what's making you feel that way or talk to someone.
  • Identify and understand the cause.
  • You've just failed your third English test this semester, and you yell at your best friend for asking you a stupid question. What's the real cause of your outburst? The test, not your friend. Knowing why you're angry helps you deal with it.
  • Walk away.
  • You have the power to change or avoid an anger-provoking situation ? so use it! Losing your cool isn't cool.
  • Get a new perspective.
  • If you're having an argument with someone, try to put yourself in that person's shoes. Understanding where they're coming from might help you resolve the situation without losing your temper.
  • Vent to your friends and family.
Venting is not taking out your anger on your friends and family. It's explaining your feelings and frustrations to people you trust and who can help you deal with the situation. Or talk to a school counselor, a teacher, or another adult you trust. If you find that you are angry all of the time, and can't get a grip even after you have really tried, you may want to seek professional help.

How To Talk to Someone Who Makes You Mad

Being able to communicate with someone who makes you angry is an important skill. When talking with people who drive you crazy remember to:
  • Look and feel relaxed
  • Keep your voice calm
  • Be direct and specific about what's bothering you
  • Ask, don't demand
  • Make your statement once, then give it a rest.

Redirecting Your Anger

It's easy to lose control when you're angry. There are many ways to deal with anger by turning that negative energy into something positive. There can be immediate rewards from exercising, or there are some longer-term solutions.

Get involved in a cause.

Find a group in your school or community that is trying to make a positive impact on society. For instance, you
might volunteer with an environmental group or tutor younger kids after school.

Exercise!

Physical activity is a great way to blow off steam, and spending time outside can also help you calm down. Take a
walk in the park or go for a run. Train for a 5k race. Shoot some hoops, or try a new sport. Don't think about what
makes you angry while you exercise.

Find a hobby.

Many people have a hobby that helps them unwind. Your hobby could be anything from reading, painting and drawing, music, or sports to cooking, writing, collecting comic books, dancing, or building model airplanes. Find
something that interests you!

Take Action

  • Talk to your teachers or community leaders about developing a cross-age, anti-bullying program for the local elementary schools.
  • Encourage your school or community center to start a peer mediation program. These programs give teens a way to resolve problems peacefully and provides a resource through which they can let out their anger.
  • Encourage your school administrators to make anger management courses a requirement for all graduating seniors and for faculty as well.

Making Peace - Tips on Managing Conflicts

Irritated? Frustrated? Angry? Ready to explode? You're not alone. Whether it's an argument with a friend, aggravation because a driver cut in front of you, or rage because your ex-girlfriend or -boyfriend is going out with your best friend, conflict is part of everyday life. Anger leads to conflict, produces stress, hurts friendships, and can lead to violence. We can't always avoid anger or conflict, but we can learn to manage it without violence.

Steps To Managing Conflict

Understand Your Own feelings about Conflict.

This means recognizing your triggers, words or actions that immediately cause an angry or other emotional response. Your trigger might be a facial expression, a tone of voice, a finger being pointed, a stereotype, or a certain phrase. Once you know your triggers, you can improve control over your reactions.

Practice active listening.

Go beyond hearing only words; look for tone, body language, and other clues to what the other person is saying. Pay attention instead of thinking about what you're going to say next. Demonstrate your concentration by using body language that says you are paying attention. Looking at the ground with your arms crossed says you're uninterested in what the other person is telling you. Look the other person in the eye, nod your head, and keep your body relaxed and your posture open.

Come Up with Your Own Suggestions for Solving The Problem.

Many people can think of only two ways to manage conflict, fighting or avoiding the problem. Get the facts straight. Use your imagination to think up ways that might help resolve the argument.

Moving Toward Agreement

  • Agree to sit down together in a neutral place to discuss the problem.
  • Come to the discussion with a sincere willingness to settle the problem.
  • State your needs, what results are important to you, and define the problem. Talk about the issues without insulting or blaming the other person.
  • Discuss various ways of meeting needs or solving the problem. Be flexible and open-minded.
  • Decide who will be responsible for specific actions after reaching agreement on a plan. Write the agreement down and give both people a copy.

Confronting the Issue

Good communication skills are a necessity throughout our lives. They allow us to resolve issues before they become problems and help keep us from getting angry. When talking to people, especially those who are acting confrontational,
  • Look and feel relaxed
  • Keep your voice calm
  • Be direct and specific about what's bothering you. Use "I" statements, statements that emphasize how you feel, rather than blaming the other person. Instead of yelling, "You always interrupt me! You don't care what I think," try saying "I feel frustrated when I can't finish making my point. I feel as though my opinions don't matter."
  • Ask, don't demand. Instead of saying, "Get away from me," try asking, "Would you please leave me alone right now? I am trying to talk to my friends."
  • Make your statement once, then give it a rest. Don't repeat your point endlessly.

If You Can't Work It Out... Get Help

Mediation. Many schools offer programs that train students to act as mediators for their peers. Mediators do not make decisions for people ? they help people make their own decisions. Mediators encourage dialog, provide guidance, and help the parties define areas of agreement and disagreement.

Student Courts. Many schools have implemented teen courts to help students solve disputes. Teens serve as judges, juries, prosecutors, and defenders in each case. Students caught fighting on campus can use the courts to settle arguments, and teen juries can "sentence" those students to detention or community service, rather than imposing suspension or expulsion.

Anger Management. How to recognize attitudes, actions, and circumstances that trigger an angry reaction and how to control that reaction are skills that many teens ? and even some adults ? have not learned. Anger management training helps individuals take command of their emotional reactions instead of allowing their emotions to take command of them.

Arbitration
. In arbitration, a neutral third party determines an action. Disputing parties agree on an arbitrator who then hears evidence from all sides, asks questions, and hands down a decision.

Where To Find Help

  • Schools (check on whether they have peer mediation programs), colleges, and universities.
  • Community or neighborhood dispute resolution centers.
  • Local government ? family services.
  • Private organizations listed in the telephone directory's Yellow Pages under "arbitration" or "mediation services."
  • Law school legal clinics.

Power Tripping

Bullies don't go away when elementary school ends; bullying actually peaks in junior high. It continues through high school and even into the workplace. It can lead to serious problems and dangerous situations for both the victim and the bully.

Bullying is repeated and uncalled-for aggressive behavior, or quite simply, unprovoked meanness. It's a form of intimidation, which means behavior designed to threaten, frighten, or get someone to do something they wouldn't necessarily do. Bullies have learned that bullying works. They do it to feel powerful and in control. There are things you can do to deal with the situation without making things worse.

The Facts

Bullies keep bullying as long as it works ? as long as it makes them feel more powerful.
Many children and teens are bullies or victims of bullies, but the largest number of children and teens are bystanders ? witnesses to bullying.
Eight percent of urban junior and senior high students miss one day of school each month because of fear.
Bullying takes lots of forms: it can be physical or verbal, mild to severe.
One in four children who bullies will have a criminal record before the age of 30.
Girls can be bullies too, although bullying by girls is more likely to show up as spreading rumors, leaving people out of social events, teasing about clothes or boyfriends, or threatening to withdraw friendship. However, this doesn't mean that girls don't use physical intimidation to bully.
Although much bullying happens where adults can't see or hear it, it also happens when adults are present. Often adults don't do anything to stop the bullying.

The Victim

Anyone can be the target of bullying. However, most victims are often less ? or feel less powerful ? than the bullies. A typical victim is likely to be shy, sensitive, and perhaps anxious or insecure. Some teens are picked on for physical reasons, such as being overweight or small, wearing different or "weird" clothing, having a physical disability, or belonging to a different race or religious faith.

The Bully

The Intimidators

Some bullies are outgoing, aggressive, active, and expressive. They get their way by brute force or openly harassing someone. They may carry a weapon. This type of bully rejects rules and regulations and needs to rebel to achieve a feeling of being better than everyone else.

The Smooth Talkers

Other bullies are more reserved and tricky and may not want to be recognized as harassers or tormentors. They try to control by talking, saying the right thing at the right time, and lying. This type of bully gets his or her power secretively through manipulation and deception.

As different as these two types may seem, all bullies have these characteristics in common:
  • concern with their own pleasure
  • want power over others
  • willingness to use and abuse other people to get what they want
  • feel pain inside, perhaps because of their own shortcomings
  • find it difficult to see things from someone else's perspective.

If You Are the Victim

No one solution works well in every situation, but there are a variety of strategies you can try.
  • Avoid or ignore the bully.
  • Hang out with friends. There is safety in numbers.
  • Say no to a bully's demands from the start. If the bully threatens you with a weapon, give in to the demands and immediately tell an adult.
  • Tell the bully assertively to stop threatening you (for example, "I don't like what you're doing, stop it!" or "Get a life, leave me alone.")
  • Do not physically fight back: experience shows that this actually increases the likelihood of continued victimization.
  • Seek immediate help from an adult.
  • Report bullying to school personnel.
  • If your safety is at stake, walk away or run if you need to.

Stop the Bullying

It's everyone's responsibility to stop bullying. And don't be afraid to get help when necessary. It takes courage, but you will be preventing the intimidation from continuing and possibly escalating. You can report the problem to authorities anonymously.
  • Refuse to participate in taunting and teasing.
  • Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
  • Tell adults if you witness cruelty or hear about violence that might occur.
  • Walk away from fights.
  • Speak out against the bully.
  • Stand tall and walk with confidence and in a way that commands respect.
  • Hang out with friends who don't get involved in bullying.
  • Stand up for others who are being intimidated.
  • Include the person who is being bullied in your activities.
  • Show compassion for the victim.

Take Action

  • Work with the school administration and get students together to develop or revise your school's code of conduct.
  • Start a bully education program for the local elementary school, consider a puppet show or skit that teaches kids about bullying.
  • Organize a teen panel or discussion group to talk about the issues of bullying and intimidation at your school.
Crime Prevention Tips Provided by: National Crime Prevention Council