mad demonstrationIf children are hearing news reports of recent national and international events, some of them want to talk about feeling upset by the anger and tension they sense between opposing groups.

Pediatricians, child psychologists and others make available solid advice to guide us through these conversations. We offer additional ideas if you choose to bring in the moral dimension.

Sometimes groups of people are mad at each other because…

  • They perceive that something is not right and, without moral concern, the world would be a dreadful place indeed.
  • They perceive that nothing is being done about the wrong. An important purpose for anger is to motivate us to take constructive action.
  • People are insensitive to their opinions and beliefs. Their most important opinions or beliefs are being shouted down or ignored. They’re afraid that harm is going to come to them and those they care about.
  • They cannot make other people change and they feel like they don’t have the power, energy or force to produce any effect or change.
  • What other reasons can you add to this list?

Know when to stand firm for your beliefs.

mad speak upAt times, people need to take a stand and do it publicly. They are ready to do this when they’ve learned how to remain composed when others do not share their convictions. Otherwise their public demonstrations can become belligerent and bitter and onlookers lose the message they intended to convey.

Being right can lead to being wrong.

It is possible to be so filled with good opinions that those opinions seem to justify unloving outbursts and actions. People become judgmental and rage, taking revenge, picking up weapons, or any other number of harmful acts.

Speak up with love

  • Hold firmly to your convictions while refusing to enter a power struggle. True assertiveness is anchored in the positive message you want to communicate, not in what’s wrong with the other group’s viewpoint.
  • Find balance when your anger is linked to a reasonable issue and you communicate it responsibly.
  • Aha! Parenting reminds us that “In a democracy, through a long and respectable history of peaceful protest and civil disobedience, change was created in the face of entrenched power structures.”

Tweetable: Ideas for responding to kids who are unsettled by their perception that people are so mad at each other lately. Click to Tweet