Mindful Media: Mad Dragon Game Review

Mindful Media: Book Reviews, DVDs, and CDsIf I’ve done it right, this post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

We read a lot of books about living mindfully in my family and I love hearing from others when they come across a book that they or their kids liked. We also use other media like movies, music, and spoken word to talk about and practice mindfulness. In this continuing series, I’ll be writing posts about the mindful media that my kids and I recommend. Feel free to share any you’ve come across in the comments and if it looks like it might be a nice complement to the one I’m reviewing, I’ll be happy to review it or add a link to it in my post.

Mad Dragon Game

Mad Dragon: An Anger Control Card Game

by Therapy Game HQ



If there’s anything I have learned about living life mindfully, it is that some days are harder than others so it’s important to inject playfulness into negative thinking patterns.

If there’s anything I have learned about parenting mindfully, it is that some days are harder than others so it’s important to inject playfulness into negative thinking patterns.

It’s almost as if living life and parenting have something in common there…

Even though Ive figured that out, it’s still a daily practice for me to remember to break out of frustrations and sadness with a more playful attitude. My kids are natural teachers for this, even though I’m a poor study.

While they’re helping me to be more playful, I’m helping them to learn to handle big emotions. One of the biggest, scariest emotion for many kids (and adults) to manage is anger.

Mad Dragon Cards

Mad Dragon Cards

Anger can feel like it overwhelms so that it is in control and not you. But, really it’s the fear of the overwhelm that we confuse with fear of the anger. The fear can cause problems before, during, and after the angry feelings, if we take action without pausing to think about what’s going on.

That’s easier to think about that to do. Most people never even try. I know I am constantly working on not avoiding anger while not acting from fear. And I fail at it often.

I’m getting good at apologizing after my outbursts during anger. And I’m getting better at practicing anger when I’m not angry. I’m improving by examining anger in myself and my kids when I’m calm by meditating and writing on them.

But, I like to play with anger, too. If I can associate fun with anger, perhaps I can detach more of the negative feelings I have when I’m mad or others are mad at me.

Some of the play involves imaginative anger games. Other times, my kids and I mock “angry mom” who sternly chases them or they act as the lecturing parent with me until we collapse in giggles together. It’s important that they feel how ridiculous most angry feelings are in a safe space.

We also try more organized games for anger management and Mad Dragon is one that my kids and I return to. It’s just like Uno, but it includes prompts on the cards about aspects of anger that the player can talk about when they play a card.

Mad Dragon Draw 2 Card

Mad Dragon Draw 2 Card

For example, put down a green 6 and talk about a time you’ve successfully controlled your anger when you felt it coming up. Or play a skip card and try taking 3 deep belly breaths.

The cards help us understand what anger feels like in ourselves. We can see where we feel it in our bodies and what thoughts we are thinking when we are mad. We also learn what anger looks like in other people and how not to “catch” it.

We often talk about how to avoid situations that provoke our own or other’s anger. It’s amazing how good siblings are at identifying exactly what will push each other’s buttons!

Arguably, the most rewarding thing we take from this game is the ability to revisit past disagreements without opening old wounds. The cards act as a neutral intermediary. It’s as if the anger and blame is directed into the game and what would normally turn into another “did not! did too!” rehash, turns into the player feeling heard and the rest of us really listening.

Especially, when we are exhausted, but in need of a family meeting, playing this game has allowed me to understand what’s really going on inside some grumpy kids and relax into my own worry (that can ironically make me jump to anger.)

Mad Dragon reminds us that we have choices when we are angry. We can remember playing together and that we are on each other’s side, even when at loggerheads. It’s okay to be angry and ask for help.

Activities suggestions to create with this game:

  • For the first few times, play it like regular Uno. Ignore the prompts to share until the kids express and interest in them. Allowing their natural curiosity is part of the experience in managing anger. And it helps the adults to practice playing without ulterior motives-that kids can smell a mile away.
  • Instead of having a family meeting, have an old school family game night with board and card games. But, if you find your family can communicate about emotions better while playing video games, go for it. It’s more important to let them take the lead and be the follower, especially when treading around big emotions like anger.
  • Above all, play! So, if it means building a card castle or tossing them into a hat, then play and laugh together. The bonding will reap benefits later when anger comes up.
Related Posts You May Like:

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Disclosure: If I did this right, there are affiliate links in this post. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

{Please excuse typos. I’m writing without time to proofread today}

See you tomorrow for Nablopomo.
NaBloPoMo November 2014

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