Whether it’s your two-year-old biting a playmate, an eight-year-old throwing his schoolbooks on the floor, or a teenager sulking and swearing, children of all ages will demonstrate a wide range of frustrations. Children go through phases. When the adjustments they’re making are difficult, they’re likely to show anger and feel frustrated. Your response will determine whether anger escalates or quiets down. Here are some anger management tools to try.
Things You’ll Need
Willingness to try another approach.
1. Stay calm. When you child is angry, he or she will need your help to cope with the feelings and frustrations. Don’t get angry at your child for being upset. When children are mad and out of sorts, it’s a challenge not to get angry ourselves, but if you get angry too then there will be even more confusion.
2. Accept angry feelings as natural. Understanding that your child is upset, frustrated, or simply mad is the first step to productive solution. Many parents have trouble expressing anger themselves, and when the child is mad, the parent’s confusion gets mixed in. Then instead of the child feeling mad and getting over it, the commotion stretches out.
3. Put words on the feelings. Anger is a call for help. When children are angry, they need you to set limits for their behavior while understanding the feelings that are causing the uproar.
4. Acknowledge the upset by empathizing. Say something like: “Are you upset that you have to do the dishes?” or “Are you frustrated that you can’t go outside right now?” Understanding calms the situation.
5. Teach about angry feelings and boundaries. Say something like: “It’s okay to feel mad, but it is not okay to punch your brother.” or “It’s natural to be upset, but it is not okay to throw your books.”
6. Keep it simple. Instead of delivering a lecture, keep your comments sweet, short, and simple. Say, “Lets, take a time out and we can talk about what happened later.”
7. Focus on the solutions. After you have empathized with the feelings and after things have calmed down, then you can assist in finding the solution. Ask about the solutions in a calm and friendly voice. Ask, “What are you going to do?” and “Is there anything I can do?” and “Have you thought about it?”
8. Assure your child that “Everything will be okay and that it will work out.” Adopt the attitude of “just because we are mad, that doesn’t mean it has to ruin our day.” Go outside together and take a walk. Say: “Don’t worry, we will find a solution. I will help you.” Give your child a gentle hug and a comforting smile.
Validate you child’s feeling without validating the behavior. Acknowledge that the feelings are okay, but the inappropriate expression of them is not.
Hitting your child may increase aggression.