Anger is a natural emotion that everyone feels and expresses at times. It can also be difficult to tolerate or manage, especially when it feels intense. If you notice that your child appears to become angry easily or frequently, here are several tips that you can use for understanding, guidance and support.
- Understand what triggers the angry emotion: Pinpoint specific situations, people or circumstances that create an angry response. This can help your child develop a stronger sense of the feeling. You can teach your child about physical symptoms of anger such as a rapid heart rate, tension in shoulders, teeth or hands, an urge to lash out against another person. Awareness of the feeling is the first step in managing anger.
- Modeling healthy responses to anger: Children look up to their parents as role models in how to navigate the world. If a parent reacts easily in anger to every day situations, the child might be conditioned to respond similarly, patterning behavior after what he or she is seeing. Modeling for your child an appropriate response to feeling angry will help him or her when they are in distress. Practice pausing when you are feeling anger, monitoring your tone of voice and posture, and then speaking in a cool and collected manner.
- Practice stress-management skills together: From practicing deep breathing together, to guided meditations, to ensuring your child is getting enough sleep at night, you can guide and help your child de-stress and promote awareness around his or her feelings. The same is true for you! Working on reducing stress might naturally also reduce your angry reactions.
These are just a few ways to help your child manage his or her anger. If you feel like your child is struggling with his or her feelings and your interventions are not working, it can be helpful to seek out professional help so you can both learn new ways to manage.