Release destructive emotions


Breaking into Bullying

I Love You So Big Blog! – Lynne Namka, © 2011-12

“Teach your child not to become a bully assistant!” – Deena Stewart

Bullying is on the rise in the schools and playgrounds. A recent survey showed nearly one in six youths 10-17 years old bullied others frequently. The research shows that children are more likely to be bullies if their parents frequently feel angry with them or feel their child bothers them a lot. Children with an emotional, developmental or behavioral problem and those whose mothers report less than very good mental health also are more likely to bully others. Talk, talk, talk to your teenagers about your values and how you expect them to behave with kindness. Parents who share ideas and talk with their child, and who have met most or all of their child’s friends are less likely to have children who bully. Bullying is related to giving one’s self permission to abuse others.

Patricia Evans, author of The Verbally Abusive Relationship, writes,

“YOU ARE BEING ABUSED: When you are yelled at, snapped at, told that you are acting wrong, acting smart, acting dumb, trying to start a fight, imagining things, twisting things around, interrupting, trying to have the last word, going on and on, thinking wrong, thinking you’re smart, thinking you know it all, picking a fight, asking for it, looking wrong, looking in the wrong way, looking for trouble, trying to start an argument, and so on and on.”

Teach your children about abuse of all kinds. State your values again and again that mean talk, hurtful worlds and bullying is not allowed. Keep talking to your children about the necessity of being kind to others. Talk to them about having a strong character which means having a sense of self as a good person with the ability to challenge instant gratification and not taking the easy way.

Consideration for others and their needs as well as one’s own is a sign of maturity. According to the cartoonist who developed the Simple Beasts cartoon that shows a bear with his head in a hole in a tree saying, “Who ate the last of the wood ticks? Maturity is the ability to cope with life’s disappointments!”

As the song says, “What we really need is love.” Some young people feel hollow inside especially if they had had a rough go of it in life with bullying or trauma such as going through a divorce or living with a depressed or angry parent. Teach your children to be courageous enough to address their hurt and not pass it on as bullying. If a young person is to remain true to basic character values that create a life of balance and happiness, he needs an understanding of himself.

For more articles on the dynamics of bullying and how to stop malicious behavior which are listed on my website at

If you have a child is mean to others or bullies, have them view my interactive video called It’s Not Okay to Feel Good by Making Others Feel Bad at To my knowledge, this is the only curriculum that approaches bullying from the point of helping the bully. It calls bullying for what it is—puffing one’s self up by putting others down and then gives an approach that helps the child stop while boosting his self-esteem at the same time. The video is also on You Tube with my other five videos.

Know someone who would benefit from these ideas on breaking into the habit of hurting others. Remember habits are learned behaviors and they can be unlearned. Forward these ideas on to others who might be interested. There is always hope for change and my articles give practical advice on breaking unproductive beliefs and behaviors

Masters of the Imagination and High Drama

I Love You So Big Blog! – Lynne Namka, © 2011-12

“Attention is the most basic form of love. Through it we bless and are blessed.” – John Tarrant


Tweens and teens are often masters of exaggerations of importance or inferiority regarding themselves. After all they have grown up on Star Wars, Harry Potter and numerous computer games of the good and bad guy. Some choose to live in a fantasy kingdom of their imagination for those teen years until their mind matures and they somehow morph into a grownup. Some develop their own personal fables with themselves as great heroes or feeble victims.

As James Farris, author of Parents Who Care Too Much, says, teens are egocentric. “Teenagers overestimate their significance to others. They believe the world operates around them and their desires. Adolescents are, therefore, very self-conscious in public, acting as if they are on stage when they are with others. When alone, they will create an imaginary audience as they fantasize about the reactions of others. Sometimes teens, in their self-consciousness do rude or silly things to overcome tension and embarrassment.

Today’s kids are savvier and articulate about than we were about everything and believe that they know more than they do! As the parent of the child who is growing up, you gradually give up your place of power and special position in their life. They no longer view you as the great authority in their life. Face it! The peers are the new authority. Peers are “in”, Parents are “out.” This is not your parents’ authoritarian style of parenting. “Do it because I say so,” does not work any more. Children today have not been brought up with fear of being punished as they were a generation ago.

Many of today’s teens underestimate personal risk as their brain is not fully developed. Some of them have an exaggerated perception of invulnerability. They often believe that bad things will not happen to them and have a layer of denial set up around negative outcomes. They think that scary risk warnings about the consequences of unprotected sex, street drugs and alcohol are for others not them. They gain a bit of information and think they are more informed about risky activities than they are.

You have to hustle is to keep pace with what is going on in your local teen culture, which is not pretty. The temptations out there could sidetrack your kid down the wrong road. There is a peer culture out there that will try to seduce your child with easily available sex, drugs, trashy clothes, internet porn and constant partying. Research shows that the ages of 12-15 are the years when they take in less information about activities that might harm them, yet they think they know it all. They are maturing faster due to the exposure of the fast paced media and the influences of the Internet where they can find out about risky ventures that we never even knew were out there when we were young.

Keep up with them! Stay informed. Go to the website. Their ad says, “It’s 2011. Do you know where your children are?”

For more ideas on understanding teens read The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things they Do? by Lynn Ponton.

Who is in Control Here?

I Love You So Big Blog! – Lynne Namka, © 2011-12 

“I know that when I am most monstrous, I am most in need of love. When my temper flares out of bounds it is usually set off by something unimportant which is on top of a series of events over which I have no control, which have made me helpless, and thus caused me anguish and frustration. I am not lovable when I am enraged, although it is when I most need love.” – Madeline L’Engle

Young people want to feel that they are in control, yet they are at a time of life where everything seemingly goes out of control. Hormones rage, emotions are heightened and dramatics are totally in. One minute, your child is happy! The next minute, things are horrible. The highs! The lows! One time, they love you and the next, they can’t stand you. One minute, they are saying, “Come here and help me.” The next, they are running to their room, slamming the door and isolating.

While their emotions run high, the research shows that the logical parts of adolescents’ brains are not yet fully developed resulting in confusion and some risky behavior. They have not lived long enough in the world to sort out their incorrect perceptions. They are halfway between the child and the adult. Of course, they think that they are adults, but they often have immature perceptions of reality. Egocentricity is now the rule, not the exception.

The preteens and teens are the years of the highs and lows. Young people often play out their lives to an imaginary audience. Some youngsters have the belief that they are the center of the universe where everyone is watching them. They begin to think about others thinking about them and it is often excruciating. Their egocentric beliefs and unstable emotions make the world revolve around them. Life is a soap opera for many youngsters. They ride emotional roller coaster of thrills and disasters and end with cliff hangers. And you end up being the stressed-out-audience of the daily drama asking, “Why? Why me?”

We humans have a strong need to be in control as a way of keeping anxiety down and feeling safe. Studies show that people experience a diminished sense of control when stressed and they become anxious. The inability to tolerate or deal with anxious feelings when feeling stressed exaggerates the need to control someone or something.

Anger can be an energizing emotion that breaks into anxiety. At an unconscious level, the person uses one feeling to alter another. Anger is substituted for inner anxiety as an attempt to gain a sense of control with the belief of “I can get angry as I must control what my partner or child does so I can feel like I’m in charge.” The force of their anger gets the other person to comply so it’s a two-fold payoff: the feeling of being in control reduces inner anxiety. The quickness to chew somebody out over minor infractions becomes reinforced when anxiety is reduced after blowing up and the other person gives in.

No one wins in the battle for control. Remind yourself that life is not about gaining control. It’s about understanding and working with what you are given.

So when you are frightened about behaviors that your teen is doing, go to that place within yourself where you get a grip. Go to the “Get a Grip Department.” Take five deep breaths and decide what you want your child to learn. Teaching your values and morals and helping your child gain some practical life skills is your best bet.

One study taught high-anger students self-control, coping skills and relaxation techniques and found that there were decreases in verbal and physical antagonism and increases in dealing with conflict in constructive ways. The bottom line—teach the behavior you want instead of just letting people vent their emotions. That’s why I like the “No vent” policy. Venting is a short term release only makes people hold on to their anger emotions. The research shows that what really works to release anger is to seek to understand why you are angry and need to be in control and learn ways to express anger in healthy ways. Skill training and anger containment approaches are superior to venting!

Relaxation techniques can help check the flow of adrenalin and other stress hormones. The emotional intelligence skills of expressing feelings, setting of clear boundaries, assertiveness and problem solving are preferable to aggression.

I teach children and their parents to learn to be “Speak your feelings kind of families.”  For many, many ideas to help with managing and containing all kind of feelings, go to my award-winning web site at

 The Perfect Gift for Children in Your Life

anger management

 The Mad Family Get Their Mads Out 

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