Posted by admin on 3rd December and posted in Book Club
By Prerona Mukherji
Last month’s book club at PRAYATNA, Chennai, revolved around an extremely pertinent topic that is experienced in almost every household—anger. The book club discussed ‘anger management’, focusing on the various ways by which we can control our temper. The book read out to was When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang. It was about a little girl who got furious with her family as things did not work out according to her wish and as a result she tore her small world into pieces. She ran out of her house, cried and only when she felt a sense of comfort from Mother Nature, she came back home. She was happy to find everyone relieved to have her back to where she belonged.
The kids at PRAYATNA walked into the centre and saw a picture of a volcano on the board. They were curious to know how the story was linked to the picture.
The book club started with two questions put forth to children: what made them angry and how they behaved when they were angry. The children recounted their reactions to their perceived slights of being teased and taken for granted. A teacher explained the physiological effects on the human body when anger struck — the unconscious tensing of muscles, teeth grinding, veins becoming more visible, increase of heart rate and adrenaline surge and uneasiness in the stomach. This in turn led to detrimental effects on human health conditions. In the next activity, synonyms for the word ‘angry’ were shared with children. To ensure that the children understood the meaning, we read a sentence with each word and asked them to make one on their own.
The next activity was the book reading followed by five role plays brilliantly performed by the staff members. The role plays showed children indulging in aggressive behaviour when frustrated and disappointed under various circumstances. We then had a detailed discussion on how to deal with anger. An alternative positive approach to anger like engaging in visualization, labeling the emotion, to stop-think- act, walking away and talking later, counting backwards from ten to one and breathing slowly were introduced to children. Various anger-provoking scenarios that could happen in school, home and playground were given to children. They enacted effective ways of dealing with their anger. It was clear that the children understood the concept as they excelled in the activity.
In the last activity, the staff demonstrated progressive muscle relaxation technique. This happened to be the highlight of the book club. Children enjoyed learning the process of tensing and relaxing their muscles and displayed a lot of enthusiasm while performing the activity. Children were given a ‘Stop, Think, Act’ signal to take home at the end of all the activities.
It is often seen when we are angry we lose control of ourselves and hence tend to hurt others and inflict pain on ourselves. We do not realize and end up screaming, bad mouthing and hurting people which might have an adverse effect on our near and dear ones. The theme of the book club brought forward the message that we need to realize that having a control on ourselves can solve many problems, smoothen relationships and make the world a happier place to live in. Children became more aware of their reactions which can lead to many unnecessary conflict. They also realized they need to make that extra conscious effort in calming themselves down at the face of anger.
(Prerona Mukherji is a Special Educator at PRAYATNA.)