Addressing Anger in Children
Do you feel like you have an angry kid? Anger is a normal emotion that everyone feels sometimes. Some people can manage their anger appropriately, while others struggle with this. As children grow, they are learning how to cope with their feelings and anger. Here are some general tips to help your children learn to appropriately cope with anger:
- Model appropriate anger management skills. This can be challenging at times, but if you tend to lose your cool, it is likely that your children will grow up doing this, as well. Remind them that feeling angry sometimes is normal.
- Validate your child’s feelings and help them feel comfortable talking about what is upsetting them. Help them expand their feelings vocabulary beyond “happy” and “mad.”
- Teach problem-solving skills. Walk them through this process at first, then try to step back. Reflect with them afterwards about the choices they made and how these worked out for them.
- Introduce your children to calm-down skills, or self-soothing. Teach them how to relax and appropriately take deep breaths, count to ten, take a break, use visual imagery, etc. These skills take lots of practice in order to become habits.
- Aid your child in recognizing the triggers of his or her anger. Develop of a plan to prevent these from happening or handle these appropriately when they do occur.
- Use consequences and rewards as needed, depending on age. Remind your child of what consequence will be given if they have an inappropriate anger outburst, and help them keep this from happening.
Want more information on this topic? Check out Anger Management for Children or Helping Children Deal with Anger on PsychCentral or Do’s and Don’ts of Teaching Your Child to Cope with Anger from the Huffington Post.