As anger management becomes a more recognisable problem among teens, the use of games to redirect that anger is becoming a viable option. However, it is not enough to just learn how to control or redirect the anger, your teen must learn there are situations outside his control and the proper techniques for handling these uncontrollable occasions, so he is prepared when they occur.
Adapted from the book, "104 Activities That Build," by author Alana Jones, the Hidden Heart game allows teens to explore the hidden angers and fears inside as they build self-esteem. To play, the teen writes down activities that make him feel angry, situations that cause him to feel discomfort, and occasions when he feels powerless or afraid, on small strips of paper inserted into a balloon called his "heart." The teen writes all his coping methods of hiding these feelings on a larger second balloon. Some coping methods may be humour, sports, walking away, feigning confidence or avoidance, such as shopping. Insert the smaller "heart" balloon into the larger balloon and blow it up. Discuss the coping methods used by the teen, talk about alternatives and lead the teen to evaluate alternate methods to deal with his anger. Pop the balloon as a symbolic gesture of breaking down these walls.
Teach your teen an alternate method of releasing anger by role-playing. Designate him as the mediator in several stressful situations played out by other family members or teens. These interactions can be as simple as someone wearing a favourite shirt to losing in a competition. During the process ask him to describe different methods the participants could have used to handle the situation, before it reached a violent conclusion. After each session, have a round table for participants and the teen to discuss how the feelings were brought out by the situations and alternate methods of resolution.
Play the board game "Life" with your teen to illustrate to him that there events out of his control and left entirely to random chance. Discuss with your teen how rolling the dice is like life, although you may plan your future, other events may interrupt, or change your plans, causing anger. Develop strategies for your teen to minimise the effect of the random loss of control and strategies to work around the obstacles as he returns back on track.
- Teen Help: Teen Violence and Video Games
- Games for Groups: Hidden Heart
- Amazon: 04 Activities That Build: Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, Coping Skills
- PBS Kids: Dealing With Anger Getting to the Source
- Anger Management Information: Anger Management Games/Activities