Red Cap gives children skills for dealing with anger

children sitting in a group during a red cap graduation ceremony
by Maritime
Categories: 2018, Blog, News Archive

Anger is a normal part of life, but many children and adults do not have positive opportunities to practice dealing with anger. At an elementary school in Dartmouth, N.S. this issue is being addressed using Red Cap, an anger management program geared towards children aged 8-12.

Nicole, 11, got in fights at school. Lindsay, 13, pushed people.  Today, with help from The Salvation Army’s Red Cap anger management program, they have developed appropriate responses to anger-provoking situations and have confidence in their ability to control their emotions.

“I feel better,” says Nicole. “Red Cap helped me stop fighting or walking out of class because I was mad. I don’t do that anymore. I count to ten and walk away.”

Red Cap helps participants understand the things that trigger strong reactions, provides anxiety and stress-reduction techniques along with the vocabulary to communicate their feelings in positive ways.

“In the program we wrote down what we got frustrated about and talked it over,” says Lindsay. “We looked at different situations and came up with ways to problem solve such as taking a deep breath or walking away.”

The program is particularly helpful for children attending high priority schools where they do not necessarily have the resources and supports at home to help them thrive.

”Our school has been identified as having high needs in terms of both academics and behaviour concerns,” says Mary Paula MacEachern, Principal. “Red Cap helps participants make better choices, learn how to regulate their emotions and avoid spontaneous reactions. It teaches the children how to handle their frustrations and, when they do, they are better able to focus on learning.”

“Red Cap helped my children tremendously,” says Jane Webber, parent of Nicole and Lindsay. “They recognize their triggers and have strategies about how to respond to feelings of anger. I’m very proud of them.”