NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Dealing with an angry child or student can be difficult. But underneath their anger is a lot more than meets the eye.
Take Jourdan Williams for example. She is a busy mom of three.
“Our tag line is we are blessed and stressed,” laughed Williams.
However it wasn't until her baby was born six months ago, that she started to notice a change in her oldest son.
“Just angry and mad and at the time he couldn't tell us, ‘I’m mad because I want to be played with,’ or ‘I’m mad because you are spending too much time with the baby,’ it was just, ‘Grr!’” said Williams.
She soon noticed these changes were taking a toll on both her son and her entire family.
“Mom guilt is real. It was like, ‘what did we do wrong?’ or ‘what were we doing that was right that we didn't keep doing,’” said Williams.
Katie Walker is a therapist in North Little Rock and the founder of Grow and Guide Kids, an online resource for parents and teachers. She's also a new author.
“I decided to write a children's book to spread the message to all the parents and teachers out there who struggle with angry kids in their life and to reach that kid who just feels abnormal,” said Walker.
The book, “Alice and the Anger Sandwich” teaches kids about anger as a secondary emotion and teaches parents how to talk about it to their kids.
“Anger is like the sandwich. It's the bread. You can see some things peeking out on the outside, like the lettuce the tomato, but overall you don't know what's on the inside of the sandwich,” said Walker. “I want to teach kids what primary emotions are because when you know the primary, you can treat the cause.”
Walker said addressing emotions at a young age is vital and more emphasis needs to put on them at home and in the classroom.
“What happens is when kids don't know anything about their emotions they don't know how to express them. They feel isolated they feel confused and embarrassed, like they are the only kid in the world who experiences these,” said Walker.
She said typically kids who are not taught how to handle their anger appropriately are prone to violence.
“Kids grow up and I hate to say it, but there are the angry kids who grow up and do bad things; violence, school shootings, hurt their families,” said Walker.
Six months and several therapy sessions later, Williams said her son is able to better express his emotions and she's become a better parent.
“He has learned how to use those different terms to express the true emotions that he’s having,” said Williams.
Walker said she hopes to see schools adapt the book as part of the curriculum.
To order your copy of ‘Alice and the Anger Sandwich,’ visit here.