At the best of times, dealing with anger can be difficult for adults. It is even tougher for children to deal with emotions. That's why the South Winnipeg Family Information Centre offers Anger Management for Kids, a two-evening workshop series for parents and their child.
The workshop teaches children methods for expressing anger in a positive way, without erupting or spewing their anger at others.
The centre began nearly 30 years ago after a group of Fort Garry parents decided they needed a place where they could take "professional development" classes in parenting. Since then, the centre has offered hundreds of classes on various topics.
Anger Management for Kids grew out of a request four years ago from parents who wanted to give their children help in dealing with anger. It will be offered Sept. 17 and 24 for children aged 6 to 8, and Sept. 18 and 25 for ages 9 to 11.
"Parents felt their kids were not coping with their anger very well," said the centre's executive director, Pat Hodgert.
The classes are led by volunteer facilitators.
"Most of them are parents who have taken the course with their own kids and they've said: 'We really like this course,'" Hodgert said.
There used to be a stigma attached to parents and children who felt they needed a course like this, but Hodgert said the climate has changed for the better, especially in schools.
"Nowadays kids are more open to this because there's lots of programs in the schools on bullying and peer support. We try to make it a fun event with games."
Participants must register in advance and the family information centre requires that at least one parent attend with only one child. Siblings should not attend the classes together.
"This is a program that a child and at least one parent should attend," said Hodgert. "We know that children often learn how to cope with anger and stress in their lives from their parents, so it's very interactive, parents and kids together."
The course runs over two nights to give participants a chance to practise what they've learned for a week before they return for more discussion. Advance registration is a must because of the course's popularity, and because the centre offers its programs to anyone in Winnipeg, not just in Fort Garry.
"It is one of those courses in which we almost always have a waiting list," Hodgert said. "It is open to everyone across the city."
The centre has its roots in Fort Garry, based out of the lower level of the Fort Garry United Church at 800 Point Rd. But it is an independent, non-profit agency funded by the United Way with a board of directors that reflects communities across the city.
Three part-time staff help co-ordinate over 100 volunteers offering various programs on parenting, babysitting, anger management for kids and adults, divorce and separation, couples communication and blended families. It also runs several support groups.
To register for Anger Management for Kids, call the centre at 284-9311. For more information on the centre's programs and services, or to volunteer, check out the Web site at www.swfic.org.
PHOTO LINDA VERMETTE/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS