anger in children, anger management for children, helping children with anger, how to help children deal with anger

Even adults can have a hard time managing anger, so it’s not surprising that kids can find this emotion challenging. They don’t know how to deal with it, so they scream, hit, chuck tantrums and burst into tears. Sometimes we think that by giving them what they want we can stop anger, but the reality is that there’ll always be situations in life when things don’t go their way. Rather than fix the situation, we need to give our kids tools to manage their feelings.

Anger is ok

Anger is a normal emotion that all of us experience at one time or another and it’s important not to give your children the impression that it’s wrong to be angry. It won’t stop them from feeling angry, but it can make them believe that there’s something wrong with them if they’re experiencing it.

Stay calm

Your children will copy what they see, so do your best to keep your cool in challenging situations and manage your own anger. If you lose your temper in front of your child, admit what you’ve done wrong and use it as a teaching situation. What could you have done differently?

Teach your child how to defuse anger

Encourage your children to talk to you openly about how they’re feeling instead of stuffing it in as something ‘bad’. Sometimes just talking things through can help someone feel better. Ask them to take a few deep breaths. Teach them how to use visualization. They could imagine anger as a cloud being blown away by the wind or a boat floating down the river. Kids have vivid imaginations and it may surprise you just how effective imagery can be. Your children may even come up with their own way to deal with difficult emotions like playing music. Point it out to them, so that they become aware they have a tool at their disposal when they need it.

Teach ways to solve conflict situations

To build up your children’s communications toolbox, find opportunities in your daily life to come up with examples of how to handle difficult interactions.  If your children observe a less-than-friendly encounter, ask them what they would do to fix it. Replay different scenarios after an upset with a sibling or at school. Do this when your children are calm and able to give you their attention, not in the heat of the moment. Next time they find themselves in a confrontation, they may remember what they’ve practiced and use their knowledge without even realising it.

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By Tatiana Apostolova