Anger in a child or teen can be a serious issue. It can result in behavior problems at school, at home and in various social settings. Kicking, biting, hitting, throwing things and other disruptive behavior are common causes of expulsion from school. There are things you can do as a parent to help your child deal with her anger and have healthy interactions with adults and other children.
- Recognizing what is causing your child’s anger — outside stimulus or feelings coming from inside — is the first step to take when trying to understand your child’s anger issues.
- Take a good look at how others in the household handle anger. Could the child be exhibiting behavior similar to that of an older child or a parent? Ask yourself how you deal with your child’s anger. Does it make you angry as well? Does anything you do or say make your child even more angry?
- Anger in itself is not a negative thing. It’s how a person deals with anger that makes all the difference. When a child who becomes uncontrollably angry when a younger sibling plays with his special toy without permission, the child may lash out and hit the sibling in anger over the taken toy. This is when the parent needs to step in and help the child find a proper solution to avoid the same situation happening again. Putting the toy in a special place out of the sibling’s reach is a good start .
- Children need help calming down. The last thing you should do when a child is exhibiting destructive behavior as a result of anger is to send her away to calm herself down. Chances are, she will continue the destructive behavior anyway. Instead, help your child to calm her anger.
- Give him love. When your child is angry, this is the time to use love instead of anger to help him with this emotion. Talk with the child, coax him into using his words to express his anger rather than destroying something. Let him know that you are there to help him get rid of the yucky feelings inside. Children respond to love more than they do anger or being left on their own.
- Talking through their feelings will help children identify why they are feeling angry, and then they can move on to finding and implementing a constructive solution with your help. This constructive solution can be dancing out their anger, writing down alternative ways to deal with anger and putting it on display where they can easily reach it, or doing breathing exercises, for example.
Each child is different, and what works for one child may not work for another. However, through trial and error and following these tips, you and your child will discover the best and most effective ways to deal with anger.