8 Tips to Control Anger in Children
Self Help

8 Tips to Control Anger in Children

A child in anger

Anger is a very natural emotion experienced by everyone including children. It is one of the seven core emotions which we have since birth. But when it is uncontrolled it can pose a serious risk to themselves and others, including family. It is quite common for kids to act out, lose control over themselves and direct the distress at the caregiver by screaming shouting throwing objects, hitting, and biting. Also, it can be an incredibly stressful situation for you and the kid too. It usually happens because the children do not know how to respond to emotions and have trouble managing them. Teaching children how to recognize, understand, and manage their emotions is essential for their emotional well-being and social development.

Why Children Experience Anger:

Before going into strategies let us first investigate why children would feel angry, sometimes so much to start hitting or throwing objects. Anger is a natural emotional response to feeling threatened, frustrated, or overwhelmed. Children may feel angry when they perceive something as injustice, have trouble in expressing their needs or encounter challenges beyond their coping abilities. Sometimes parents attribute this angry and explosive behavior as a manipulative tantrum, but actually that may be a child in distress. It is essential to recognize that anger itself is not inherently negative, it is how children express and manage it that matters.

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Here we will explore some practical strategies for parents and caregivers to help children control their anger effectively.

1) Recognizing Triggers:

Identifying what is causing your child’s anger is the first step in managing their anger. Children’s emotions can be triggered by a variety of things, such as: feeling frustrated, feeling disappointment, feeling fear, feeling embarrassed feeling misunderstood. Identifying and verbalizing what makes your child feel angry is a great way to help your child become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent. Most children lash out because they do not understand what they are feeling. So, teaching your child about feelings helps your child understand wha they are feeling and how they can verbalize it.

Start by teaching your child basic feeling words, such as ‘angry,’ ‘happy,’ ‘scared’ and ‘sad’ to help your child identify and label his or her feelings. As your child grows and learns how to describe his or her emotions, teach him or her more complex feeling words such as disappointed, frustrated, worried, and lonely.

2) Communication:

Open and honest communication is key to addressing anger effectively. After teaching your children emotional vocabulary for feelings, you must give them a safe and supportive environment to express and address it. This environment should be comfortable, where they can express their feelings without fear of judgement or punishment. Encourage the children to use ‘I’ statements to effectively communicate how they feel such as, “I feel angry when….” This helps children take ownership of their feelings and promotes healthy communication skills.

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We can also create an anger thermometer to measure the amount of anger the child is experiencing. Anger thermometer is a tool that helps the kid recognize the signs of anger. To make it, draw a large thermometer on a piece of paper. Start at the bottom with zero and fill the numbers till ten going to the top. Therefore, on an anger thermometer, zero means no anger at all. A five means medium anger and at 10 means, the most anger ever. The children themselves can make meaning of the various levels of anger like having a smiley face when at zero and angry like a monster at 10.

3) Don’t Give Into Tantrums:

Sometimes parents and caregivers give into the tantrums of their child to get out of the situation or just calm the child down. This makes the child believe that angry outbursts are an effective way to get their needs met. Do not give into your child’s demand during a meltdown, though it will be easier in the short term, eventually it will only make their problems and aggression worse. Instead work on building confidence in your child so that their needs will be met.

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4) Teach Coping Strategies:

Empower children with a toolbox of coping strategies which they can use when they feel angry. These strategies include deep breathing exercises, counting to ten, taking a time out, using positive self-talk, or engaging in physical activity. These coping strategies help the child to know what to do when they are angry instead of acting out. Deep breathing techniques help us to calm down, counting up to 10 while feeling angry, helps the child to respond instead of reacting to the situation. If both the techniques are not working, it is helpful if the child takes himself out of the situation or engages in other physical activity to use up that energy and keep them distracted from the situation.

5) Model Healthy Anger Management:

Children mostly practice what they see. They learn and reenact the behavior of adults like parents, caregiver, and other important people in the child’s life. Therefore, we should model healthy anger management techniques so that they can learn it. Show children how to express anger calmly and assertively without resorting to violence. Demonstrate active listening and problem-solving skills, underscoring the importance of finding constructive solutions to conflicts.
On the same note, avoid playing violent games and showing movies with heavy violence to children. They learn from the behavior they see and hence it can increase their chances of getting violent. Famous bobo doll experiment conducted by albert bandura is a proof of children modelling behavior.

6) Promote Empathy:

When children start to understand their emotions, we should encourage them to understand and see others’ emotions too. Helping children develop empathy towards others can reduce their propensity for anger and aggression. Encourage them to consider other people’s perspectives and feelings, teaching them to recognize that everyone experiences emotions differently. Engage in activities that promote empathy such as role-playing and storytelling from distinct perspective.

7) Set Clear Expectations And Boundaries:

Establishing clear expectations and boundaries about what is an acceptable behavior and what is unacceptable, will help children know about their limits and the consequences of crossing it. The consequences should never include hitting the child or being very hostile. They can include taking away their favorite toy or cancelling playing time. Here, consistency is the key, be firm but fair in enforcing rules and consequences. Encourage positive behaviors through praise and reinforcement, reinforcing the connection between self-control and positive outcomes.

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8) Seek Professional Help

As we discussed anger is a very natural emotion experienced by every person. But if you think your child’s anger is uncontrollable and persists despite your best efforts, or if their anger is accompanied by other concerning behavior like aggression and self-harm, it might be necessary to seek professional help. A qualified mental health professional can help you to navigate your child’s underlying issues and develop personalized strategies for managing anger in a healthy way.

Whenever you get distressed at your child’s anger just remember that they are still in their Developmental age. They will have to learn to express and cope with their emotions and that learning is going to be provided by you. You must teach them the strategies as they look up to you for guidance. You are the one who will shape them as an individual and a grown adult. It is a big responsibility of you as parents and caregivers to help children cultivate a healthy and constructive way to navigate their emotions.

  • https://www.verywellfamily.com/ways-to-help-an-angry-child-1094976
  • https://childmind.org/article/angry-kids-dealing-with-explosive-behavior/
  • https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/discipline/anger-management/anger-managment-in-children-best-ways-to-help-kids/
  • https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/Aggressive-Behavior.aspx

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