Archive for Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Students help young girls deal with anger problems

May 10, 2006


Little girls supposedly are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. But that's not true all the time.

They can gossip. They can shun their playmates. And they can get mad.

"Boys aren't the only ones who have difficulties with anger," said Kim Grant, a Kansas University graduate student.

Grant, assisted by fellow student Hana Dreiling, has started a new program - Stop Now and Plan - at an undisclosed local elementary school to help young girls deal with their anger problems.

"What we're really dealing with are self-control and problem-solving skills," Grant said.

Both Grant and Dreiling are school psychology students in KU's School of Education.

Female aggression and anger have fallen below the radar in the past in part because girls often don't act out as overtly as boys do, said Kathryn Levene, associate and Early Intervention director with the Child Development Institute in Toronto.

While it's more characteristic of boys to get physical, Levene said, girls often spread rumors, exclude others or tease viciously.

It's definitely not a problem just for boys, Woodlawn School principal Joni Appleman said. "I think it just depends on the individual kids and the issues they're having at that time," she said.

The SNAP program was developed by the Child Development Institute. Grant and Dreiling are coordinating a 13-week course, teaching the students how to recognize when they're angry and how to change their response to their anger. They have mock scenarios where they act out how to cope with tough situations.

Elementary school may seem early, but educators say the signs of problems can appear when kids are young.

"It isn't like it just pops up when they're adolescents," said Charlie Kuszmaul, a program coordinator for Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center. "The groundwork is laid somewhere."

Getting to kids young can be key, Levene said, because young kids still respond to parents and adults and aren't influenced by the physical and social changes of adolescence.

Dreiling said she thinks the program is helping and the students are bonding in the process.

"Sometimes a girl is having a problem, and she starts to get teary-eyed and cry," Dreiling said. "Immediately you can see that the other girls identify with what she's going through. They seem really willing to help each other."


Margaret Fowler 12 years, 1 month ago

my daughter attends the snap program, and what a difference it has made in her attitude at work and and at home, i wish all schools had this program!

mom_of_three 12 years, 1 month ago

What does that have to do with anything, 40?

ralphe 12 years, 1 month ago

40 is a pervert. 40 shoud play that game him/herself!!!

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