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Dear Tali

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Dear Tali,

My younger brother always bothers me. I try to tell my mother, but she’s sometimes busy and sometimes she can’t stop him even when she tries. My father was niftar a few years ago. I get angry when no one can help me and I beat him up. In school I never fight, it’s just with my brother. Please give me some ideas of what else I can do!

Dear Big Sibling,

It’s very hard to stay calm when siblings act annoying. Even when both parents are available, children in the same family fight. In your situation, you feel like you don’t have enough involvement from adults to help you. The good news is, you do know how to stay calm! I know you do, because you say that in school you don’t fight, even though I’m sure there are kids who annoy you. Try to think- what helps you stay calm in school? Then use those same skills to help yourself at home. Also, find a time when your mother is calm, and ask her to work out a plan to help you stop fighting.
Here are some more good ideas to help you calm down when you are angry: 1) Go to a different room. 2) Go do something you enjoy, such as coloring, reading, or making an awesome sandwich. 3) Get your body moving to cool down your angry feelings by bike- riding, hopping 100 times, or running around the block. 4) Try to think cool- down thoughts, such as “I can handle this” or “keep calm”. 5) Think of a solution or compromise.
It’s a great idea to keep track of how many times you cool down effectively. You can write down which method you used in a journal, or add jelly beans to a jar, or use some other method. Then reward yourself or see if your mother or a teacher or other trusted adult will help you get a great prize when you hit your goal number. We all struggle with anger. You’ll be proud of yourself if you learn to handle it better.

Mrs. Tali Arieff, LCSW
Clinical Director of MYEF

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