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All's Cool With Anger Management

15th April 2014. Reading Time: 1 minute Media. 851 page views.

TEENAGE schoolboys with anger problems are seeking peace in fishing, bike riding and writing journals to help them protect their friends and loved ones from harm.

The Endeavour Hills campus of the government-run Eumemmerring College has introduced the program to help some of its teenage boys deal with anger, and the co-ordinator hopes the program will have the long-term effect of preventing domestic violence.

The school’s student welfare co-ordinator, Margaret Thomson, says the program was needed because a core group has difficulty controlling their anger or were being bullied and did not know how to deal with it.

“The school is like many others; angry kids at school lashing out, not knowing how to control or process their anger. Anger is a good emotion sometimes, bit it is how to deal with it that becomes an issue,” she says.

The 22-week anger management course is through David Nugent from Heavy METAL (Men’s Education Towards Anger And Life). The group counseling and self-defence sessions involve 14 boys aged 12-15.

“They all say, ‘I’ve got a short fuse’, ‘I can snap at any time’, but I like to tell them that fuse is about choices and we can extend the time that you react to a situation and often that fuse can be made a bit longer,” Mr Nugent says.

He says teenage boys have a volatile mix of adrenaline and change, but if they understand the physical changes, they can also learn how to express their frustrations in a productive way.

One boy in the program said: “I just want to know how long it takes to control my anger. Sometimes it might take a couple of days to get one thing out and there might be someone else that comes in the meantime that can upset you.”

Ms Thomson says that, in just a few weeks, the program had sparked behaviour change, exemplified by one mother reporting her son had written in his journal rather than lash out when he became frustrated.

The program is funded by the departments of Human Services and Education and Training and is run by Connections School Focused Youth Service.

By Deborah Gough - The Age