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Creative ways for kids to voice frustration


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This is the first full year my ds 9 has been in public school. (He started half-way through last year.) This afternoon, I got a call from the school counselor. Ds 9 got in trouble for saying, "Someone give me a knife so I can kill myself" at school. He was joking--he can be very dramatic--but school policy meant that 1) the school counselor needed to talk to him, and 2) she needed to follow-up with a phone call to the parent. I appreciated the call.  She was very nice. She recognized that he was just joking and wasn't concerned about his safety. But ds 9 wasn't very cooperative with trying to come up with other ways of voice frustration. 

I have talked to all my kids (6 kids, ds 9 is the youngest, oldest is 22) about not using violent language or gestures and the need to be extra cautious about what you say when you're at school or out in general, cause not everyone understands when you're joking vs being serious...and serious things sometimes happen like people killing themselves or others. Some things you just can't joke about! I also know that ds 9 has picked up on some things from his older siblings and their friends and such, and I suspect that's contributed. But you just can't say things like that at any grade level!

What makes this especially frustrating to me, is that the counselor had literally just finished talking to his class, introducing herself and talking about how to ask for help and what to do/say and not do/say!  [where is that head-banging emoji!] I'm willing to bet that ds 9 was bored by having to listen to a lecture and in his own way, was responding by challenging the counselor to a battle of wits. He can be a bit of spitball. He's cute and smart. And he knows it.

So, dh and I are going to have another talk with the kids at supper. But I want to come up with a different strategy. My crew loves memes and making references to various shows. "I got that reference!" is a common saying in our house. I'd like to give him some creative options of 1) expressing his frustrations and 2) if he has to challenge or make a game of something, he can use this as a way of doing that. He can have his little challenge (and see if the person "gets the reference") and have a way of venting frustration without ending up in the school counselor's office (or worse)!

But I am totally drawing a blank! I know the rest of the kids will help think of things, but I'd love to have some to get them started. We love Marvel, so any references from those movies would be sure to be understood. Ds 9 also loves Pokemon and Ninjago and Minecraft. What are some quotes or memes that express frustration or anger or boredom without being violent? Please help! 

 

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I don't know if this is what you are looking for, but when my girls were younger and entering that "the world is always ending" phase I wanted a way to show them that what is frustrating them today is probably something they will scoff at later.

I printed out a picture of a baby having a crying fit and then I taped it to a kitchen cabinet. After that, any time they came to me with their "world-ending" problems we would talk it out, and then I would have them write on the crying baby picture a sentence or two about what they were upset about. We had things like "I hate my braces", "I did poorly on a test", "Billy talked to another girl today". I kept the picture up the whole school year and at the end of the year we took it down and revisited all the tear-inducing moments. Except that now time had passed and they realized they were no longer upset about such things. I believe it helped them with the concept of "This, too, shall pass" that I am always trying to drill into them. 

And it made for some funny memories haha. Just as an aside, one night we were having Chinese food and for some reason my youngest, who was about 11 at the time, was having a bad night. I suggested we all try out our fortune cookies to try to lighten the mood. When she opened up hers, it was a dud. It said "It's better to be the beak on a chicken than the tail of a donkey". She immediately burst into tears (I guess that was the last straw) and she burst out with "I hate my hair, I have no friends, and I stink at playing softball!" None of those things were true but to her it was momentous. 3 months later, looking at that on the screaming baby picture and she was able to laugh at it. 😊

Maybe you could print out a picture that is relevant to him? Iron Man or something?

 

 

Edited by Home'scool
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56 minutes ago, Home'scool said:

I don't know if this is what you are looking for, but when my girls were younger and entering that "the world is always ending" phase I wanted a way to show them that what is frustrating them today is probably something they will scoff at later.

I printed out a picture of a baby having a crying fit and then I taped it to a kitchen cabinet. After that, any time they came to me with their "world-ending" problems we would talk it out, and then I would have them write on the crying baby picture a sentence or two about what they were upset about. We had things like "I hate my braces", "I did poorly on a test", "Billy talked to another girl today". I kept the picture up the whole school year and at the end of the year we took it down and revisited all the tear-inducing moments. Except that now time had passed and they realized they were no longer upset about such things. I believe it helped them with the concept of "This, too, shall pass" that I am always trying to drill into them. 

And it made for some funny memories haha. Just as an aside, one night we were having Chinese food and for some reason my youngest, who was about 11 at the time, was having a bad night. I suggested we all try out our fortune cookies to try to lighten the mood. When she opened up hers, it was a dud. It said "It's better to be the beak on a chicken than the tail of a donkey". She immediately burst into tears (I guess that was the last straw) and she burst out with "I hate my hair, I have no friends, and I stink at playing softball!" None of those things were true but to her it was momentous. 3 months later, looking at that on the screaming baby picture and she was able to laugh at it. 😊

Maybe you could print out a picture that is relevant to him? Iron Man or something?

 

 

Ok, I love this idea!

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In the tv show Firefly, the characters all curse or throw insults in Chinese. I have no clue how legit the phrases are, but boy it would be handy to be able to do that in my life. I wonder if Duolingo has a course... Perhaps someone could teach him (and me) some impressive sounding, benign phrases in another language.

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53 minutes ago, SusanC said:

In the tv show Firefly, the characters all curse or throw insults in Chinese. I have no clue how legit the phrases are, but boy it would be handy to be able to do that in my life. I wonder if Duolingo has a course... Perhaps someone could teach him (and me) some impressive sounding, benign phrases in another language.

Oh this is good! Especially since DH is Chinese! He doesn't really speak it, but dd19 is doing a Chinese minor so she might could help out!

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32 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

I am so mad I could spit nails.

i won’t cuss but where I spit the grass won’t grow.

or my brothers favorite “swear swear cuss cuss!”

remember ramona Quimby’s “I’m gonna say a bad word” where she said “GUTS!”

I love these, especially your brother's!

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1 hour ago, SusanC said:

In the tv show Firefly, the characters all curse or throw insults in Chinese. I have no clue how legit the phrases are, but boy it would be handy to be able to do that in my life. 

 

I did not watch Firefly so I don’t know how bad the insults in Chinese are. Chinese insults can be as crude or worse than f**k/SOB so safer not to learn from TV shows or movies. 

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32 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

 

I did not watch Firefly so I don’t know how bad the insults in Chinese are. Chinese insults can be as crude or worse than f**k/SOB so safer not to learn from TV shows or movies. 

I think the suggestion is more along the lines of learning some things to say in another language that might *sound* intense, but really aren't.  

So, maybe he yells something like "NO ME GUSTA EL POLLO!!!!" which basically says "I don't like chicken."  It might sound funny and appropriately intense, but in reality it's meaning is really benign.  

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4 hours ago, Aura said:

But ds 9 wasn't very cooperative with trying to come up with other ways of voice frustration.

Social-emotional learning is pretty big in the ps right now. My ds isn't enrolled, but I try to keep up because of his IEP, etc. I think they'd like him to be able to say 

-I feel frustrated

-That was hard

-I need a break

And I wouldn't get too creative about it. I'd shut down the knife/gun/violence/anything completely, emphatically. We're at home but we hawk my ds constantly on this and never ever ever allow it. As he's finding, it will cause huge problems and shut down doors of opportunity.

I wouldn't assume he had the emotional language to say what he meant when he was joking. You could straight up ask him, when you said xyz, what were you feeling? 

If you did that with my ds, he would say some kind of jibberish. So it's nice to be creative, but I'd make sure he can actual do the straight task of saying how he feels. Walk through his day and some scenarios and start putting words on it. He may need some practice to build competency, so he can self-advocate without saying extreme things.

If you have a chance to talk with the school counselor again, I would ask her what things she'd LIKE him to say (she'll probably have a list of self-advocacy phrases that they teach students) and whether there are social story books you could read with him about it.

Edited by PeterPan
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43 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

 

I did not watch Firefly so I don’t know how bad the insults in Chinese are. Chinese insults can be as crude or worse than f**k/SOB so safer not to learn from TV shows or movies. 

They may not actually be Chinese for all I know, either. You are right, too, that although they are never translated, the intended meaning is usually clear and not PG. Happysmiley has got it, using the Danish phrase for "that is one large trash truck over there!" would probably be just as effective.

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4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Social-emotional learning is pretty big in the ps right now. My ds isn't enrolled, but I try to keep up because of his IEP, etc. I think they'd like him to be able to say 

-I feel frustrated

-That was hard

-I need a break

And I wouldn't get too creative about it. I'd shut down the knife/gun/violence/anything completely, emphatically. We're at home but we hawk my ds constantly on this and never ever ever allow it. As he's finding, it will cause huge problems and shut down doors of opportunity.

I wouldn't assume he had the emotional language to say what he meant when he was joking. You could straight up ask him, when you said xyz, what were you feeling? 

If you did that with my ds, he would say some kind of jibberish. So it's nice to be creative, but I'd make sure he can actual do the straight task of saying how he feels. Walk through his day and some scenarios and start putting words on it. He may need some practice to build competency, so he can self-advocate without saying extreme things.

As a NT adult, the truth is, sometimes, a string of curse words is really all I can managed to put together.  Like when I dropped the end of the fold out bed my parents have right on top of my toe this past weekend.  "  G- D-- M--F--ing stupid idiotic BED!!!!!!"

 

And I think that an NT 9yr old....and even some that aren't NT, can find it useful to have a "stockpile" of emphatic phrases to express frustration that don't necessarily have to actually describe precisely what is actually going on.  

Sometimes, a good curse word or two is all you really need......but 9yr olds aren't allowed to use curse words at school.

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Part of being 9 is learning what is and is not appropriate in various social contexts. I've no doubt ALL kids use a drastically different vocab hanging out with their friends than they do at home with us stodgy parentals. Even now my eldest, when home from college, is a bit more colorful, though still reserved, in speech with dear old dad (me, btw) that when within earshot of his mother. Aside from pointing this fact of life out, I don't think it sounds like much of an issue: a live-and-learn, experience sort of thing.

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

I think the suggestion is more along the lines of learning some things to say in another language that might *sound* intense, but really aren't.  

So, maybe he yells something like "NO ME GUSTA EL POLLO!!!!" which basically says "I don't like chicken."  It might sound funny and appropriately intense, but in reality it's meaning is really benign.  

 

“Pollo verde.”  

Means green chicken, but a lot of feeling could be gotten into the 4 syllables.  

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3 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

I think the suggestion is more along the lines of learning some things to say in another language that might *sound* intense, but really aren't.  

So, maybe he yells something like "NO ME GUSTA EL POLLO!!!!" which basically says "I don't like chicken."  It might sound funny and appropriately intense, but in reality it's meaning is really benign.  

This is what I understood, too.

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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Social-emotional learning is pretty big in the ps right now. My ds isn't enrolled, but I try to keep up because of his IEP, etc. I think they'd like him to be able to say 

-I feel frustrated

-That was hard

-I need a break

And I wouldn't get too creative about it. I'd shut down the knife/gun/violence/anything completely, emphatically. We're at home but we hawk my ds constantly on this and never ever ever allow it. As he's finding, it will cause huge problems and shut down doors of opportunity.

I wouldn't assume he had the emotional language to say what he meant when he was joking. You could straight up ask him, when you said xyz, what were you feeling? 

If you did that with my ds, he would say some kind of jibberish. So it's nice to be creative, but I'd make sure he can actual do the straight task of saying how he feels. Walk through his day and some scenarios and start putting words on it. He may need some practice to build competency, so he can self-advocate without saying extreme things.

If you have a chance to talk with the school counselor again, I would ask her what things she'd LIKE him to say (she'll probably have a list of self-advocacy phrases that they teach students) and whether there are social story books you could read with him about it.

Ds is very good at explaining things, when he wants to, so I know he's capable of it. But you do have some good points. 

2 hours ago, Beircheart said:

Part of being 9 is learning what is and is not appropriate in various social contexts. I've no doubt ALL kids use a drastically different vocab hanging out with their friends than they do at home with us stodgy parentals. Even now my eldest, when home from college, is a bit more colorful, though still reserved, in speech with dear old dad (me, btw) that when within earshot of his mother. Aside from pointing this fact of life out, I don't think it sounds like much of an issue: a live-and-learn, experience sort of thing.

Oh yes! It's definitely a live-and-learn thing, the school didn't seem overly concerned, but I don't want it to happen again. I don't want him ending up with a "label," iykwim. But being the youngest does have the advantage that he gets to hear from not just us "stodgy parentals" (love that phrase!) but his older siblings, too. When we discussed it at the dinner table, I brought it up so that they could help come up with some phrases. But their first reaction was groans and rolled eyes with: "Oh no" and "You did NOT!" and "You can't say that stuff at school!" It's so nice when the stodgy parentals are the ones to get back up (cause you know it's usually the other way around). 🙂

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9 hours ago, katilac said:

You might also remind him that he shouldn't be complaining about the event that just ended loudly enough for teachers to hear him no matter what words he uses! 😂

Yeah, pretty much that was ds' shock at camp this summer. Nobody cares about your opinion, shut up, stand in line, nobody is going to TALK with you about it, lol.

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