Don't let being angry turn into a fight
  • Anger is normal, but fighting isn't the way to deal with it.

  • Treat people with respect, even when you’re angry.

  • Find the courage to walk away from a fight.

  • Help keep others safe by not staying to watch a fight.

  • Get help from a trusted adult when others are fighting.

It's important to know how to settle an argument before it gets physical. You can learn ways to control your anger.

Anger is normal. It is natural to feel this way when you or someone you care about has been treated badly. It's up to us to decide how to act when we get angry.

Being angry does not have to lead to a fight. But, when we lose our temper, we are more likely to get into a fight or say something we will later wish we did not say.

This saves a lot of trouble. It may even save your life! You can say, “I'm starting to get mad. Can we talk about this later when I’ve cooled down?”

Telling yourself that all people, even those you don't know, have a decent side makes it possible to treat them with respect. Then, when you feel angry or upset with someone, your first reaction would be not to fight.

Some people get afraid when others get too close. Stay an arm's length away from the other person.

“Why are you saying this?”

“This is how I see it. What I think happened is _________.”

“I don't want us to be enemies over this. What can we do to make this right?”

Being afraid of snakes and bears has kept human beings alive for thousands of years. Being around people who are angry or who want to start a fight can be scary.

If you feel fear, even if you don't know why, you need to leave. Your body is telling you something is wrong when:

  • Your heart speeds up.

  • Your stomach feels funny.

  • You get hot and sweaty.

“I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm out of here.”

If you cannot connect with someone's decent side and this person still wants to fight, get away. When both people are so upset, it is hard to think clearly.

Even if you are not the one who is fighting, how you act is very important. Some people would rather fight than lose face in a crowd. Here are ways you can help stop a fight:

  • “This is not worth fighting about.”

  • “Don't let a fight happen over this.”

If you and others leave, the fight most likely will not happen. Many fighters want and need people watching. You can say, “Let's get out of here. They can work this out as long as we leave them alone.”

If there is a weapon, get help right away!

  • You and others need to leave as fast as you can.

  • Find a trusted adult at once.

  • Call 911—it can save a life.

Supporting the fight with yelling, teasing, cheering and pushing only makes things worse. Get help from an adult. But first, tell someone that this is what you are doing.

Let the fighters and those watching know that besides getting hurt, there is a chance of:

  • Getting kicked out of school

  • Being thrown off the team

  • Having the whole group punished

  • Getting grounded

  • Being arrested

You are not trying to get anyone in trouble. You are trying to stop someone from getting hurt.

  • If you hear that someone is planning to harm someone else, tell an adult.

  • If someone is threatening you or someone else, ask an adult for help.

This takes a lot of courage. Try to get others to help. Together you can make a difference.

When the victim is not your friend or is unpopular, it's just as important to care about what happens. You may be able to help this person become more involved with school activities.

Share what you know about not getting into fights.

A gun or other weapon does NOT make anyone safer. It only means that someone may be seriously hurt or killed.

Talk with friends and understanding adults about what to do before something happens. By talking about it now, you will know what to say and do in the future. Think about what you would do if:

  • You are challenged to a fight and your friends want you to fight back.

  • A friend of yours is being picked on and asks for your help.

  • You know that some kids are taking knives to school.

  • You hear about plans to “jump” someone.

The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.