Helping Children with Anger
Everyone feels and expresses their anger from time to time. It’s natural to feel angry or frustrated. Anger is an intense emotion that can be difficult for children, as well as many adults, to deal with. Sometimes anger becomes overwhelming, making us feel like our emotions are out of our control. Therefore, it’s not surprising that anger is a challenging emotion for children. Does your child struggle to manage anger in healthy ways? Does he or she get angered easily or frequently feel frustrated?
Here are some strategies to help you support your child with anger…
Teach your child that it’s okay to feel angry sometimes –
As children grow, they are typically taught how to manage their feelings, and what feelings are “acceptable” to express. While negative emotions like anger aren’t pleasant, your child should understand that they are a part of being human. Your child’s goal should be to learn to tolerate difficult emotions like anger, rather than holding them in or regularly lashing out. Be there to offer your child guidance and support when he or she feels angry; show your child that there are healthy options to express how he or she feels.
Help your child understand what triggers the anger –
Specific situations, environments, or people may trigger an angry response from your child. Pay attention to what causes your child feel angry. Then, help your child pinpoint those triggers so that he or she can develop a stronger sense of his or her feelings. In addition, consider teaching your child about symptoms of being angry, such as feeling your heart beating fast, feeling tense in your body, wanting to hit a sibling or friend out of frustration, etc. If your child is aware of the warning signs, he or she will be better prepared to manage those feelings.
Model healthy responses to anger –
Children look to their parents as role models about how to behave. Parents teach their children what is right and wrong through their words, as well as their actions. Therefore, if a parent has a poor response to anger in everyday situations, a child may learn to respond similarly. It’s crucial to model healthy and appropriate responses to anger. This will help your child know how to react when he or she is in distress.
Practice coping skills together –
The best way for your child to learn how to respond to anger is to learn coping skills first-hand. From practicing deep breathing together, to learning guided meditations, to ensuring your child is getting enough sleep at night, you can help your child de-stress and promote awareness around his or her feelings.
Anger is not an easy or pleasant emotion, but it is one that your child can learn to manage. If you feel like your child is struggling with his or her feelings and your interventions are not working, consider seeking out professional help. With the support of a therapist, you can both learn new ways to manage his or her emotions.