It’s normal for kids to get angry from time to time. We all do, and we shouldn’t expect anything different from our children.
Sometimes, acting out just makes sense when you’re angry. That’s especially true for a child who may not be able to fully express their anger in other ways but with “explosive” actions.
As your child continues to get older, they’ll be able to learn different ways of managing those behaviors and keeping themselves in control when they feel bouts of anger. But you don’t have to wait that long. You can begin right now by approaching to teach anger management techniques that can work for them in the present and in the future.
The following tips can help your child to better understand what they’re feeling so they can react more productively and in a healthier way.
Be the Model for Your Children
One of the best things you can do to manage your child’s anger is to take a look at how you handle it yourself.
Children are great imitators. They’re learning everything they can from you. So, if you have frequent outbursts of anger or “explode” when things don’t go your way, your child is likely picking up on that.
Make positive, healthy, productive choices when you’re angry. It’s a great way to set the right example for your child.
Don’t Discount Their Feelings
Children have feelings just like adults do, and it’s not okay to disregard those feelings. That’s why when your child gets angry, it’s very important to listen to the things they’re saying. You can try to deescalate the situation by staying calm yourself.
Make sure your child knows you’re listening to them. You can say things like, “I hear you,” or, “I understand why that must be upsetting,” as long as you’re not encouraging the behavior to continue.
Try to get your child to continue to talk to you about how they’re feeling and why. This can teach them that talking things out (instead of acting out) will yield better, faster results.
Give Them “Anger” Outlets
If your child isn’t able to fully express why they’re angry, give them different outlets. It’s not appropriate for them to explode or have an outburst, so think of things they can do to “get out” the anger in a healthy way.
Some examples include:
- Dancing/singing to a particular song
- Stopping to breathe in for three counts, then out
- Stomping their feet
When your child is able to re-direct their anger into a different action, it can prevent them from acting out on others, hitting, throwing a tantrum, etc.
Don’t Tell Them to Calm Down On Their Own
Putting kids in “time out” to calm down is an old disciplinary practice, and it may have a time and place in certain situations. But, if your child struggles with anger, sending them away to calm down isn’t the best thing you can do.
Think about it—you’re telling your child that they have to deal with their anger on their own and figure it out when they may not even be able to fully process what they’re feeling. That can be scary for a child and might even make things worse.
Instead of telling them to calm down on their own, reassure your child that you’re there with them and you’re there for them. They need a sense of comfort and safety. That’s when they’re more likely to calm down.
Anger management for children starts with a greater understanding of their emotions and potential triggers. But when they know you’re there for them and are willing to help, they’ll be more likely to come to you rather than act out on others. Over time, that helps them develop emotional intelligence.
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