Stress, Anger, and Diabetes --So How Can We Cope Positively?????

By Caroltoo Latest Reply 2012-08-20 22:58:54 -0500
Started 2012-08-14 12:06:17 -0500

Overreacting with anger doesn't help anyone. Not the driver you're swearing at. Not the intern you're reducing to tears. Not your kids who are watching you lose control. And most of all, not you.

Lashing out or hitting a pillow or punching bag helps you release tension through venting, but it also teaches you unhealthy behavior patterns that actually escalate tension.

It's not healthy for us to hold on to anger until it eats away at you like ants on crumbs. So instead, adopt healthy behavior patterns that will help reduce anger and anxiety as well as their associated health problems. (Anger has been shown to lead to a higher incidence of heart disease.)

If you're one of the 16 million Americans who have anger issues, try these techniques to make a change that we'll all be thankful for.

Do the opposite. Remember the Seinfeld episode when George turned his life around by doing the exact opposite of everything he thought he should do? Well, think of this as the Seinfeld approach to anger management, because, as it turns out, a good way to cope with anger is to do the opposite of what you feel like doing.

So the next time you feel like swearing at the guy who just cut you off, consider that maybe there's a reason he did so — like he just got a call that his wife is in labor or his mom tripped and fell and can't get up.

Remind yourself that few people are jerks on purpose.

Find your pattern. Keep a record — without censoring – of all the emotions you feel (and why) during the day. This will help you identify the core beliefs that are associated with your anger. Do you get angry at a lack of respect? Wasted time? Insults? Once you understand what sets you off, you'll be able to work on dealing with it.

Work it out. Somehow, you have to acknowledge your physiological response to anger. Telling yourself to stay calm is one of the worst things you can do (second only to being told to calm down) because, as a human being, you're programmed to act out when you feel threatened.

So act out in a way that doesn't burn bridges, or worse. Do push-ups, go for a walk, or try deep breathing.

Choose smart words. When anger's talking, steer clear of words like "never" or "always." Statements like "This machine never works!" or "You're always forgetting things!" not only are inaccurate but also make you feel that your anger is justified, because there's no way to solve the problem. These statements also alienate people who might otherwise work with you to find a solution.

Get real. Make sure you have realistic expectations. Don't blame yourself for things that are out of your control, and don't blame others for things that are out of their control.

Remember: increased and unmanaged stress is a trigger for anger, diabetes, and heart disease. Find a healthy way to deal with yours.

57 replies

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-08-20 17:28:28 -0500 Report

Hey Carol,

This is a great article. Lots of good ideas here.

Hope all is well!


Caroltoo 2012-08-20 22:58:54 -0500 Report

Thanks, Gary. All is well. I'm back at work and thoroughly enjoying it. Wayne's adjusting to my absence and doing ok despite me being gone. He's amazingly adaptable considering he's now 11 years into Alzheimer's!

Tony5657 2012-08-17 20:08:15 -0500 Report

Hey Dude, Source or Force??:? Just kidding. It's the Source.

jayabee52 2012-08-17 20:26:24 -0500 Report

I typed it correctly!

CJ55 2012-08-18 00:06:08 -0500 Report

I know. I called again this evening. I actually sent an email attached to my order. It came back saying, unable to send to email. You cannot respond to this email. So, basically, I sit and wait for a phone call. Getting angrier by the minute.

Tony5657 2012-08-17 10:12:30 -0500 Report

I'm "big" on self help books from professionals who have actually experienced what they are writing about. To me, two books stand out waaaaay above all others in their council for stress, anger, depression, sickness, disease, … actually all things negative. Number 1 is the Christian "Bible" (New International Version). Number 2 is "The Tools", by Phil Stutz, psychiatrist, and Barry Michels, psychotherapist.

"The Tools" gives step by step guidance in how to transform your problems into courage, confidence and creativity. Their counseling approach is most likely different than any you have heard or experienced. It's a common sense, wise and workable approach involving what the authors call the Source - something/someone infinitely bigger than yourself, something/someone that will grant you renewed strength when it seems like you have nothing left. They wrote this so people of many religions or even atheists could benefit. I choose to interpret the Source as being God, the Heavenly Father of Jesus and I substitute God when the authors mention the Source's involvement. They give you "tools" you can use when you're confronted & imprisoned by negatives of any type AND these tools WILL work to deliver you IF you'll take the time to believe in & use them.

The following is a synopsis of the statements on the book cover/jacket. "These "tools", if used regularly, will ignite your own capacity to transform your life, work through conflicts, get happier & feel a deep sense of purpose. They are common sense, simple & practical but will deliver you to your best & most powerful self. These "tools" allow us to use our problems as levers that access the power of the unconscious and propel them into action so obstacles become opportunities to find courage, embrace discipline, develop self-expression & deepen creativity. Both authors goal is to guide every reader to realize the full range of your potential, so your life will become exceptional - exceptional in your resiliency, in your experience of real happiness and in your understanding of the human spirit."

It's a new book, 2012, so many libraries may not have it. I found my new hardback book, shipping included, for $17 at It arrived in 4 days AND it is changing my entire life. It is profound, to say the least. As we said in the 60s, "Man, this is heavy!" :o)

Tony5657 in New Braunfels, TX using his new tools & keeping them sharp!

Caroltoo 2012-08-17 20:46:36 -0500 Report

I always have thought the Book of Philippians was one of the soundest books of psychology on the market. Used to use many references from it when working with my church groups.

Nick1962 2012-08-16 10:28:20 -0500 Report

This is one of those things that unfortunately some (like myself) have to take nearly a lifetime to learn. As a former hot head, I reacted to everything, and was usually angry most of the time. Of course that stress started to take its toll physically. I still do get angry, but employ some of the tactics listed and it has made a big difference. For me anger management has been like going on a diet – the little things that set me off are kind of like carbs – the more I learn to do without them, the better I feel.

jigsaw 2012-08-16 14:16:58 -0500 Report

Hmmmm, sounds like you were the complete opposite of me! I'm just cool as a cucumber. I rarely lose my temper! Just don't ask my wife to confirm that statement. (-;

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-16 13:12:36 -0500 Report

Nick I think hotheaded people are in too many cases self centered. For instance and this in no means could possibly be you so please don't be offended. The hot headed person, does not listen because his/her points and opinions are far more important than anyone else. They think their opinions are always right because they know it all and no one could possibly be more knowledgeable than them on any topic. They will never admit they are wrong and when they do, it is grudgingly done. They fly off the handle in a discussion without hearing all of the information or the facts. They almost never ask for clarification and even when presented with the facts something is always incorrect. It is almost impossible to negotiate with or to get a hotheaded person to compromise.

You were correct in that hotheaded people are reactive instead of proactive. Being reactive and proactive are learned behaviors. I think hotheadedness comes from feelings of being ignored as a child or at some point growing up. However, it can also come from feeling inadequate and having to prove yourself that you are just as good or as smart as the other people.

I was never hotheaded, I was just angry with the world everyday 24/7. The person I was truly angry with was myself. I didn't need anger management. I had to find myself that was lost somewhere in the mix. Today, it takes a lot for me to get angry. I am very straight forward and I speak my mind. People don't have to agree with me anymore than I have to agree with them but I don't get angry about it. People have their opinions and the right to share them.

Anger is expendable energy. Channeling the anger into something positive teaches the person to be a proactive person instead of reactive. I had to learn to de-escalate the anger into something more positive. I became proactive instead of reactive and it made me happy.

By the way, I love reading your post.

Nick1962 2012-08-16 14:50:46 -0500 Report

Oh no, that would for the most part describe my behavior. The only time I didn't get like that was when I was in crisis/disaster mode. Then it was cool and calm, but watch out afterward.
I had a learning experience once after our kid did something stupid and caused some flood damage to my house about two years after they moved in. I watch football once a year (superbowl), and it just so happened my team was in it (for once) that year. I worked early shift (hospital work) that sunday so i could be home in time for the game. Got a call at work at 4:00 saying i needed to come home, and got home to a flooded kitchen with water seeping through the wood floor into the basement and the electrical conduit an hour before the game. Both wife and kid knew that someone's face was going to end up on a milk carton before the night was out if they didn't just sit still and do exactly as I asked immediately. I cleaned up best i could and sat down in front of my portable in the basement while they quitely sloshed around upstairs on the drying carpet making dinner. the wife sheepishly came down and asked if I wanted dinner, and I told her to bring it down - with a 6 pack. The fear i saw in those two faces was enough to set me straight and nothing more was said about the incident (though they gave me a wide berth for weeks).

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-16 20:12:32 -0500 Report

Thankfully I am not your wife because you would have missed the game, had no dinner and you certainly would not have had a 6 pack. You would have been too busy out on the lawn picking up your belongings as I threw them out the window. However, kudos to your wife who loved you enough to hang in there with you.

That was me cool and calm as I plotted my revenge. I didn't get mad I got even. I dated a guy who would yell at me if things didn't go his way. I helped him change. The first time he yelled at me then followed it up with an open handed slap to my face, I went in the kitchen, heated a cast iron skillet until it was smoking hot. Went back in the room and sat on his lap with the skillet. I told him honey no matter what don't move. I put the skillet close to his face and he felt the heat. I told him I love you but if you ever hit me again I will use this item to beat the crap out of you once you go to sleep. The second time he yelled at me. I smiled sweetly and said sweetie I love you. Yell at me like you are insane and gas will never be so high that I won't burn the bed up with you in it once you go to sleep. You really don't want to know what I will do to you if you yell at me again but I am sure it will involve bodily harm when you least expect it. He changed because he knew I meant every word and he was having problems sleeping. He never yelled at me again and we dated for several years.

I am glad you saw what you were doing to them by your behavior which caused you to change your behavior. Your wife and son more than likely lived on eggshells and in fear of you because they didn't know how you would react.

Nick look at all of the men and women who are hotheads and make living with them a living hell. What is worse some realize they have a problem but won't do anything about it while others won't admit they have a problem at all. It takes a strong person to admit their faults and an even stronger person to work hard to change their ways. One of the things that helped me the most with being angry was EMT Training. We had a Crisis Intervention class. The first thing we were taught was to put our personal feelings aside and don't become a part of the problem. That training taught me that "it isn't about me" other people are involved and if I take everything personally I won't be able to help others or myself. I don't know you personally but I am proud of you my friend.

Nick1962 2012-08-17 10:04:26 -0500 Report

Well Joyce, it wasn’t that bad. I was just a grouchy person. Never reacted physically or violently, just crabby and the littlest things would set me off.
My life philosophy has always been never, ever raise a hand in anger, (toward people, animals, or objects) and never return fists for words. I am down deep a gentle person and actually had to reprimand my kid for killing spiders on the sidewalk outside (I mean why kill something that isn’t harming you?). However, if physically assaulted, I will return the favor with enough force to remind the attacker it wasn’t a good idea. We can argue, but if you decide to try and put a knot on my head, you’ll walk away with an equal one.

Trouble was, my size and just general look would make people think I was capable of violence, even though few had ever seen me be that way. For the longest time I used that to my advantage because it kept people from messing with me, but it also made me unapproachable. There have been a couple people over the years who saw through that façade (some whom I’m still good, albeit unlikely friends with today), and one who actually “exposed” me. It was kind of funny, my ex had been in a conversation about housework with a co-worker, and it came out that not only do I cook and clean, but can out iron most women and know how to sew. Yes, I am quite domestic and made enemies of a few husbands that day.

It must be an aura, because my stress and anger seemed to send a signal without me saying a word. Even though I’m much smaller and meeker looking now, I still have to consciously be aware of how I physically come off. I got contacts for the first time in 30 years and was trying on sunglasses at the local mall when the wife commented “oh you look badass in those”, and I thought “crap, not this again.”

tabby9146 2012-08-16 14:18:54 -0500 Report

that first paragraph was my son when he was a teenager. those years were so hard. it's true what all you said though.thanks for posting that!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-16 20:13:17 -0500 Report

Tabby that is what they use to call growing pains in teens. I hope he improved as he got older. Best of luck to you.

tabby9146 2012-08-16 20:17:35 -0500 Report

thanks. Oh it was horrible!! I had mood swings as a teen and a temper, but nothing like he did. So glad he is over most of it now, although at times, he is still hot tempered over very little. he is 21 now. During those years, especially the earlier teen years, was when I was probably developing diabetes, and I had to deal with the stress of that nearly every single day and I know that hurt my health, along with the diet I had at the time. If I could go back and do things differently,oh how I wish, I would have exercised for the stress and eaten much better and I would have been able to deal with it all much better.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-16 21:06:01 -0500 Report

Tabby, hindsight is 20/20 at times a lot of people think what they would have, should have or could have done immediately after an incident or years later. You can't always go back and correct your errors but you can learn from them and move forward.

I am glad your son has improved. He can only continue to grow from this point forward. Sometimes a building has to fall on a person to get them to change their ways.

Proud Army Mom
Proud Army Mom 2012-08-16 11:00:07 -0500 Report

Nick - your post really resonated with me, and I especially like your use of the word "react." I think anger is often a very immediate physical "reaction" that we are not even aware of until we start feeling our heart racing and the blood heating our faces and suddenly the urge to scream or throttle is upon us oftentimes almost seemingly without warning. "Reaction" is spot on.

It takes a lot of patience and growing and maturity to begin to be able to recognize the signs early enough to be able to change our "reaction" and focus on letting it go before it grabs hold of us. So bravo to you for continuing the process of learning to figure out what your triggers are and dealing with them.

Since I can't usually control some of my triggers (generally other peoples' behavior), I continue to try to remind myself that, ultimately, everyone just wants to feel "better" and unfortunately sometimes the methods they choose to do so may push my buttons - but I try to take some joy in watching myself learn to turn my anger into compassion as I know that everyone is really doing the best they can - and I know that I in turn push others' buttons and hope I will find the same compassion in them.

Doesn't always work, but I'm a heck of a lot less "angry" than I once was :)

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-16 21:02:52 -0500 Report

You can control your triggers if you choose to do so. If you let other peoples behavior control you (anger wise) then they are in control not you. People are going to be people, they are going to do what people do which could be anything. I don't get angry because people do what they do. They may not know they have made you angry and for some they don't care. I for one do not care if someone is angry with me. I am not going to ask why nor am I going to do anything to change it.

In May a housing development in my community had 5 shootings in less than 3 months with two of them being homicides. Our district commander was frustrated and called me and asked me what could we do to reduce crime and improve living conditions. I told him about a task force I worked with several years ago in another section of the community that was having the same problems. With the help of our Councilman and a select few we put together a task force just for this development. We had an excellent meeting with long and short term goals.

We then met with some residents in the community and did a walk through of the community and looked at all the City Housing agency had not done regarding repairs. We listed them and sent them in to Housing. Since May I have been trying to get an update on those repairs. Last Tuesday night a task force member saw the Executive Director of Housing and asked him about an update and he put it on the Police Department.This man was at the task force meeting and promised to take care of any problems we found. I was livid. Then I said why am I angry because this man is not doing his job. I sent an email to him, his boss, our councilman. The Executive Director sent me an update yesterday morning.

I took my anger and made it work towards something positive. This man now knows that his behavior will not be tolerated and he knows that failure on his part will be directed to his boss. Make your anger work for you by turning it into something positive. Works for me when I have deal with City employees who fail to do the jobs they are hired to do.

Nick1962 2012-08-16 11:58:22 -0500 Report

Now that I'm adult enough to have the hindsight to analyse it, I think you're right. So much of what pushed my buttons went directly to my hands or mouth without being filtered by my brain. I think having to learn to act with diplomacy in my job had a lot to do with my anger management growth because way too often I have to deal with people who have no clue what they want, or want things they can't afford. I do however every now and then run across someone I need to work with who tells me to quit the diplomatic routine and just tell them I'm pissed off. the whole office stood by wide-eyed at some of the phone conversations we've had, but it was a simple and satisfying relationship.

Caroltoo 2012-08-16 12:38:36 -0500 Report

To add a footnote to this great exchange, anger is frequently a "go-to" emotion for us because it is powerful. Power rewards us in two ways: it gives us a feeling of control and it keeps us from having to go to the "weaker" emotions of fear and hopelessness about our situation. When we live in anger, we are not afraid. No wonder anger becomes almost an addiction.

Proud Army Mom
Proud Army Mom 2012-08-16 12:42:19 -0500 Report

Carol - that's a great point! And if you are into the whole "Emotional Guidance Scale" thing, Fear/Depression are at the bottom of the scale, and Anger is above it (in terms of a more "positive" emotion) - so yes, it's much more empowering than fear or hopelessness, even though it is generally a false sense of empowerment. But sometimes that's what it takes to be able to move up from there…

Great comments!

Nana_anna 2012-08-15 21:37:37 -0500 Report

Its hard for me. I am sensitive. I know that. It just depends from day to day and what I am doing that makes me edgy or irritable. I think I get easily angered when people (family members) initimidate me, or mimick me. That is my worst pet peeve ever! It bothers me when I see people putting other's down. I am compassionate to, I am really tead off when people are putting others down.

We really need to grow up. I am mean, it doesn't hurt to be nice and kind to one another. There is no excuse in the world. When you torment people or even animals then there is something wrong with you!

Act your age! I see more adults acting like children. It's confusing to me. We adults need to be an example to all children. Teaching them from right and wrong.

Okay, I am sorry, but I totally agree on that above!

Caroltoo 2012-08-16 12:36:31 -0500 Report

There really is a lot of sound psychology in what we used to call the golden rule: do unto others as you would have others do onto you. Some of today's attitudes seem more like do unto others first, so they can't do unto you!

Set apart
Set apart 2012-08-15 05:59:10 -0500 Report

Thanks for this Carol, although I've never thought of myself as one who lashes out it has taken me a lifetime to figure out what you've just said! These days I usually ask myself if certain matters need my negative attention, they usually don't. What I do find hard these days is that living with D can sometimes make me moody. In those cases then I have to face reality knowing that the reason I am lashing out could be because I may not be feeling well! It's really hard to blame things on ourselves, but it has to happen!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-15 13:01:44 -0500 Report

Set I agree with you. I think in most cases stress and anger are our own doing. Outside influences simply make it worse. When problems arise instead of dealing with it, too many people ignore it in hopes the problems will dissipate on their own. Once they are stressed anger sets in and the lashing out or bad behavior occurs.

There are also people who are easily offended by just about everything and take most things said and done personally when it isn't. These people I have found are easily angered. I go to a lot of meetings and have found the minute someone makes a suggestion, if the suggestion is questioned as to how it will or would not work, the person becomes angered. Their suggestion becomes a personal issue for them and in most cases, they have not looked at the suggestions outside of the box.

Life is short, I don't want to spend my time stressed out or angry over things that are not important. Stress and anger sucks up energy that could be better spent doing something else.

Caroltoo 2012-08-15 09:24:21 -0500 Report

So true. Much of what distresses us really isn't worth our energy. When my son was young, I used to ask myself this question: is (whatever behavior) something that will be important to have corrected when I look back on this moment in about 2 years? Most stuff doesn't matter, but we sure spend a lot of time and energy on fussing with it.

Yes, D does sometimes affect our clarity. Yes another very good reason to slow down the process and evaluate before we say/do things we will regret.

Diefleu 2012-08-14 22:16:45 -0500 Report

This was an awesome post! Calmed me just to read it… And I was already calm lol

troublemaker27 2012-08-14 16:19:05 -0500 Report

well i get angry easily but i just say to myself it will be ok
do you know how to deal with night terrors and nightmares?
please if you can help me thank you i can't go to sleep and i can't stand looking
at the clock at the wee hours of the morning.
sorry about this bye and thanks

Caroltoo 2012-08-14 17:16:36 -0500 Report

Hi, Tori,

Might be a good idea to think a little about what is going on inside you when you get angry. Sometimes it's because we feel someone is belittling us or being mean or judgemental to us. Those are good times to do what you said and just tell yourself it's ok and ignore it. If you can forget it, it probably is ok.

If it remains an issue you keep thinking about, then it could become something to keep you awake at night. Those are the ideas we need to think about more, so we understand them and then can make them go away.

At night time, you can do several things that will form a ritual that will help you sleep. Some things you might choose would be a warm relaxing bath with some scented oil (lavendar is soothing), a glass of milk (calcium is calming), and spend 15 minutes or so thinking about the good things that happened to you during the day. Make a list for yourself of HAPPY things that happened. If you wake up during the night, reread your list and think again about the happy things. Happy thoughts get happy brain hormones pumping (they are called endorphins) and you will feel better and get sleepier sooner.

Happy things don't have to be BIG things. Some of the happy things in my life are: sunshine on my toes, fluffy white clouds in the sky, a cat who comes to purr beside my legs or sits on my lap, a beautifully colorful bird I saw when taking a walk, a little splash in the puddle on my neighbor's lawn on a hot day, a glass of cold lemonade, a smile from someone who doesn't know me. These are little joys that don't cost anything, but we feel better (and sleep better) when we think about these little joys just before going to sleep.

Night terrors are different. They are usually about something very frightening in our lives and they cause a real surge of adrenalin which is what makes you shake. For those, I find it best to just get up for while, turn on the lights, reassure myself that I am safe, listen to some calming music, have a little protein snack to offset the BG surge from the adrenalin, and reread my list of HAPPY things. It will probably take about an hour to calm down, so don't rush it. That's because the adrenalin takes time to get out of your system and you won't get sleepy until it does.

Another thought about a good sleeping environment: cool temperature, no lights on unless you need a small night light, no clock visible from your bed, computers and other electronic stuff turned off so no blue or red "eyes" are showing on your electronics, solft/calming/continuous music sometimes helps to block out other people's annoying and disruptive sounds.

Think positive thoughts as you drift off to sleep … and have some happy dreams.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-14 14:46:07 -0500 Report

Albert Einstein said "Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools". Anger has been known to destroy families and friendships. Anger has divided governments and nations. They question which should be asked is, Why am I angry? When a person holds on to anger, this person is only destroying him or herself. As time goes on, the person you are angry with no longer remembers or cares why you are still angry.

In many cases, the angry person is truly angry with themselves over their own failures in life. The main cause is failure to accept responsibilities for your own misfortunes. People are angry with the landlord for evicting them, they didn't pay their rent, the neighbor who called the police on them, it was 2 in the morning and your party was loud on Tuesday night. The coworker who was promoted over them, you didn't come to work and when you did you either did nothing or complained about everything.

It is easier to place blame on something or someone else rather than take the blame. No one is going to live up to the standards have set for your life. You can't get angry about that. People get angry over a misunderstanding rather than ask for clarification. People get angry because they can't control everything or people aren't as perfect as they think they are.

At the end of the day you must ask yourself was whatever happened worth the time spent being angry. In far too many cases it was not worth it. Everyone has the right to stand up for their rights and their beliefs but you don't get angry because the person you are arguing with doesn't agree.

Once a person lets go of anger they will feel less stressed, have better health and will have fun in life. Great post Carol.

Caroltoo 2012-08-14 15:55:14 -0500 Report

Thanks, Joyce. You are correct, we do need to own our own anger and then get over it before it hurts us.

Proud Army Mom
Proud Army Mom 2012-08-14 12:18:34 -0500 Report

Carol - I love your post, and it is so spot on!!! I especially liked your "smart words" idea - it's a great parenting tool to remember too. ;)

A few things that I have found have helped me as well: Meditation (20 minutes a day) - not sure why it works (I mean, I've read the different theories), but it definitely helps me. Also, I remind myself how crappy I feel when I lash out at someone (whether justified or not) - ultimately, I have just punished myself by lashing out more than I punished the person I was lashing out at - so I really try to take more deep breaths and let it go just so that I don't have to feel bad about myself (I mean we all have enough reasons to beat ourselves up - why add one more?). And of course, I am now the poster child for working out to relieve stress and anger - it's so true what they say about the endorphins!!!

Anyway - great post, great discussion - thank you! <3

Caroltoo 2012-08-14 12:23:55 -0500 Report

Thanks for the affirmation that this works. I find it to be true in my own life and it is what I have taught with my anger management clients. Now, my challenge is to teach this to angry and ODD adolescents!! I'll keep you posted.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-14 14:59:11 -0500 Report

Carol, in my community I find that many of the adolescents are angry over things they perceive are against them which is basically the entire world. In my community, teens want jobs, they want people to listen, they want a way out of their homes because of missing or abusive parents. They want better schools and more important than anything is they want someone to listen.

The problem that I have found is they don't know how to express themselves so they resort to what they see in music videos, what they see other teens like them doing and how they are treated by everyone around them.

On a walk through of a public housing development, a 14 year old was angry with us for being there. I asked her why she was angry and she said no one was going to do anything. I asked her anything about what and she said everything.
I asked her to be specific. She said we need another basketball court, a place to play tennis, cooking classes, etc. I said ok this is what I would like you to do. Talk to all of your friends, make a list of everything you would like to see in your development that would make your life eaiser, be reasonable for instance you won't get a pool because you need a life guard, fencing, maintenance, liability insurance and none of that is cheap. I told her to give her list to their president and we would call a meeting of all the teens and talk about all that is on your list and see where it goes from their. She was excited until her mother said girl those people don't care about someone as poor as you. The girl instantly deflated. I wanted to strangle the mother. Teens need hope and help and to know adults care and when the adults fail them they get angry until they find a way to release the anger. Some do this by doing the best they can in school to get into college or by resorting to violence. I see this all day everyday and the parents simply give up or don't care about the ones who resort to violence.

Good luck with your work and please keep me posted because I am trying to figure out a way to do out reach to teens.

Caroltoo 2012-08-14 15:49:28 -0500 Report


Hum, … sounds like my community also.

We are using a method called Trauma Informed Care which acknowledges past trauma/pain/injury/insult as a potential cause for the not socially acceptable behaviors that we encounter and views them as the youth's best (at the time) method of coping with the pain. When these coping methods become pattern/habit, then they are used in ways that don't work for them. That's where we intervene and try to close the loop so they can learn other behaviors that work better for them in the present.


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-14 17:01:24 -0500 Report

That sounds wonderful. Some organization just had a workshop for parents and care providers of teens with mental health issues. There was another on juvenile justice. The problem is there should be programs to address these problems before kids get into the juvenile justice system.

The school system has changed in that kids who are create problems in school such as fighting, refusing to go to class once in school and being a problem that were suspendable infractions are not suspending the kids. This means the kids may have to go to in school suspension and are returned back to the classroom. Because the parents aren't notified most of the time, the kids continue to misbehave and escalate to higher levels of disruption. It seems now the only time kids are suspended is when they hit a teacher or bring a weapon to school. To me this means my kid could go to school get inschool suspension, I am not notified so the behavior continues because as a parent I would know nothing about it.

The fact is too many kids are carrying the weight and responsibilities of adults and are fending for themselves. Until parents take the roll of being a parent seriously, too many youngsters are going to continue down the path of destruction. Families and children need help in this area.

Caroltoo 2012-08-14 17:32:03 -0500 Report

True, it is a real mixed bag when we look at causes and interventions.

Parents range from overbearing and too involved, to totally uninvolved and/or uncaring. Kids do a similar range. Teachers do too. Seems an unfortunately human response.

Everybody is fighting for their "rights" even when it impinges on others "rights".
Your treatment plan says you can use music as a coping skill so that give you the right to play to so loud that it makes the person next to you physically ill. Have to use a little reason here, since it's not all about rights, but what is right.

Schools and teachers are caught in the middle because they want to help the kids and sometimes have to try to do it in spite of the parents who don't want help. Who is right? Gee, who knows, but we all need to look at the CHILD WHO SUFFERS FROM ALL THIS CONFUSION.

We adults do need to get our acts together so the kids can learn positive things from their role models, not just learn what they DON'T want to be when they grow up.

My present crew has several from psychiatric hospitalization, others from juvenile detention, one who was an abandoned orphan from one of the baltic states who has extensive RAD issues. Some have parents who care, some have parents who no longer care, others have parents who are so worn out that they no longer can care.

It's a SAD, SAD world for youth who are unloved and unwanted. We all need to look at what we contribute: positively and negatively because, often unknowlingly, we can affect many, many lives for the good or the bad. So, those of you who don't work and are home: think about some ways you can help make another's life better. It will also improve your own.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-14 19:57:12 -0500 Report

Carol, I agree with you. One of the problems I see is coping skills. Growing up my mom and dad taught us how to cope with just about everything. We would ask for things but in the end we got what we needed first then some of what we wanted. If we didn't always get what we wanted, we were told when you get old enough and get a job then you can get what you want. We learned early in life how to clean, iron, and cook easy things. Harder things after we got out of school. If we were in public we behaved accordingly and respectfully and we did the same at home. Today parents don't seem to teach kids to cope with life as it arises.

I worked with a woman who went from her mothers house to her husbands house. She didn't know how to cook, clean, wash clothing etc…,her husband taught her and when they had a daughter he taught her with the mothers help.

She volunteered and got the job with us. As a volunteer she learned to type. Took the typing test and got the job. Her daughter had graduated college and lived at home after the death of her father. When she moved out, we had to teach our coworker how to write checks to pay her bills, balance a check book, deposit checks and to problem solve. Through it all she was a very happy person but frustrated because she was 50 years old and realized her mother groomed her to get a husband instead of how to take care of herself.

Today's parents have nannies, tv babysitters, pacify their children by buying them everything, never saying "no" to them, are too busy with their careers to bother with the kids, ignore their kids or they abuse and abandon them. Kids have to be taught coping skills but if their parents don't have the skill the kids will never learn it.

tabby9146 2012-08-16 20:34:44 -0500 Report

agree with you 100%! i have known some of those very spoiled kids who get everything. We did that with my son the first 5 years or so, and I saw how he was getting, and I stopped it. I stopped buying him so much, maybe I was doing it because I worked full time, and subconsciously trying to make up for not having as much time with him as I would have lked, but it's hard when you love your kids so much, you want to give them all you can, but you must not. So glad I stopped most of that at an early age, he was an only child for 10 yrs, but had I not stopped it I think about how he would have been when his sister came along all those years later. That is another thing, parents that have nannies and don't spend near enough time with their kids, and parents who just really don't love their children enough. all of those things break my heart. I am a good parent, mainly because my parents were both so good, and set a great example for me. not perfect, we have all made some mistakes, but one thing , my kids were told and shown that we love them regularly, and we give them our "time" as often as possible, those are the best things you can give them, your love not just stated, but shown to them, and your time. It is far more valuable than money ,or anything you can buy for them.

jayabee52 2012-08-16 21:47:13 -0500 Report

we did much the same with our 3 boys. But we started on them about the time they were toddlers. They knew that we loved them but they also knew that there would be dire consequences if they transgressed the "stop lines" we clearly laid out for them beforehand.

If they did something which we hadn't covered yet, we basically gave them a "pass" that time but we sat them down, immediately if possible, to explain that that behavior was unacceptable and why. If they tied it again, the discipline was swift and immediate.

We had sons who were a joy to be around, and more than once we took our preteen sons into someplace like Denny's and someone came up to us and congratulating us for the way our boys behaved. One time a gent came up and told us "when you came in with your boys, I thought 'there goes my chance of having a quiet meal'. But your boys were so well behaved I was pleasantly surprised. So I went to your server and paid for your family's meal to thank you for the good job you are doing raising them."

My middle boy took me out for breakfast one day and just praised me for the way I helped raise him. Since I had just been divorced from his (and their) mom and had been feeling kinda low. That did me a lot of good.

Caroltoo 2012-08-15 01:12:00 -0500 Report

Today I made a brief stop at the home to pick up some paperwork. It was my day off and Wayne and I were starting to drive around Oahu and buy some veggies from the farmers out on the Northshore.

As I went in, one of the kids came running to me, holding an ice pack to her hand. I asked her what happened and she said she got mad and punched the wall. I asked to see her hand. The knuckles were swollen, one was bruised. Our nurse had already seen it and prescribed ibuprofen and an ice pack unless it got worse.

I sympathized with her, told her I was sorry she was hurting, but that was the logical consequence of hitting a wall with her fist. She looked surprised and, before she could screech about my not caring, I concluded by saying I hoped that next time she wouldn't do that because it really upset me to see her hurting herself. Honestly, she didn't know what to do with it. It was almost comical to watch her putting the pieces together. One of her issues is that she has a really loose connection between cause and effect. She seemed to "get it" this afternoon. Now tomorrow, will have to see if she still has it.

Proud Army Mom
Proud Army Mom 2012-08-14 12:27:46 -0500 Report

Good luck Carol! Ah, if ONLY I knew (and had embraced) back then what I know now, I wouldn't have wasted to much time and energy on non-consequential things and could have been so much more joyful so much sooner. I hope you can reach at least one adolescent with your message! (and perhaps remind them that who they REALLY are isn't an angry person) :)

Caroltoo 2012-08-14 15:58:32 -0500 Report

On the other hand, if we don't have these experiences that make and shape us, are we at risk of being a less multidimentional adult once we do get it figured out?

That's a somewhat philosophical point to ponder, but we are who we have been becoming all our lives and, if we like who we have become, then all those experiences were part of our becoming that person we like now.