Alice the Angry Alligator
Alice the Angry Alligator was ready to clamp her powerful jaws on Fiona the Fish. She was SO mad! Fiona promised she would stop talking and swimming circles around Alice. It really irritated her that Fiona wouldn’t stop! Fiona wanted to be Alice’s friend, but in Alice’s mind, she was supposed to eat fish like Fiona, not be friends with them. Alice wasn’t sure why she believed she couldn’t be friends with a fish, but she did. Alice was sure Fiona was just trying to annoy her, and she was already annoyed….about EVERYTHING!
Alice the Angry Alligator hadn’t always been angry. The anger started to simmer slowly within Alice’s heart when she and her family had to move from her home along Alligator Alley. Alligator Alley was destroyed to make room for a new highway. Alice and her alligator family traveled for miles through creeks and swamps until they found a new place to live. The rest of the alligator family thought it was a nice place, but it wasn’t in Alice’s eyes. She hated it! Besides, having a different home was only one of the things that was bugging Alice.
Alice’s mom, Annie the Alligator used to be around most of the day, but she had to venture farther from home to find food. It felt like Alice was always alone and her mom wasn’t there to talk to anymore. When her mom came home, she was tired. Alice missed hanging out with her mom.
She missed her old neighborhood, and the friends she left behind too. Alice remembered playing tag by the creek and doing all kinds of fun things! Those memories were good to think about, but they just made Alice more feel frustrated, and she wanted to smack someone with her tail! Hard!
Alice’s mom told her she’d have to get used to making changes as she grew up and that sometimes those changes would seem hard. The last time Alice tried having a talk with her mom about all the things she was angry about, it ended in a shouting match and Alice having a meltdown. Her mom just said, “Deal with it, Alice!” “I’m so tired of your whining. You are grounded for 3 days!”
Three days was a long time and Alice had a lot of time to think. Fiona the Fish was kind of smart but she talked A LOT! The other day, Fiona told Alice that she used to be afraid of things, but she learned that fear was just an emotion. Fiona chattered on and on about emotions. Fiona said, “Emotions are reactions to the way you feel about something or someone. They can be positive like love, happiness or joy or negative like fear, worry or anger. Alice, you seem angry all the time!”
“Everyone reacts to their emotions in a different way. Sometimes they make you want to get away from everybody and be alone. Sometimes, they make you want to explode and punch something!” Alice could relate to that.
Fiona said she learned about stress and emotions at swim school. She sure asked a lot of questions. “Did you know that you can feel emotions in your body and if you pay attention to them you can control them? Fiona mentioned something about negative emotions triggering the stress response in the body and how stress chemicals make your brain get confused. She said, “When your brain gets confused, you can’t think and you don’t make good choices.”
Alice the Alligator certainly felt confused and she realized that arguing with her mom wasn’t a good choice! She tried to think about making friends with Fiona. There were so many thoughts and questions floating through Alice’s mind. She hadn’t exactly been nice to Fiona. Maybe she wouldn’t even want to be her friend anymore. Alice wondered if stress and negative emotions were causing her to feel so awful inside.
After doing a lot of thinking, Alice decided two things. First, she’d start paying attention to what her body felt like when she was angry. Second, when she got off being grounded, she’d have a chat with Fiona about how and where she learned her information. It might give her some clue about how to get back on track. Maybe they could be friends afterall!
- Is there anything you believe that might make you think you can’t be friends with someone?
- When you feel sad, angry or worried, do you want to be alone or do you feel like punching someone or something?
- Most people feel positive emotions like love and happiness in their heart. Where do you feel them?
- When you are overwhelmed or feel negative emotions like sadness, where do you feel it in your body?