“I hate you!” Your angry child shrieks while throwing every object in sight.
As you duck to avoid being hit in the face with a shoe, you can’t help but wonder, “What happened to my little angel I used to rock to sleep?”
Big feelings, particularly anger, fear and sadness can result in big outbursts that make you wonder where you went wrong. We all feel overwhelming emotions at some point, but kids in particular struggle to express them appropriately. In fact, many adults simply suppress these feelings, which isn’t ideal either.
So, is there any hope? Can you teach your child to manage their anger and enjoy a more peaceful home? Absolutely! Try these 5 excellent anger management tips:
1. Affirm Feelings
The first thing you need to make sure you communicate to your child is that anger is a feeling that everyone experiences. You can say this in moments of crisis and also in more calm moments.
It’s also important to differentiate between anger, fear and sadness, which can often be expressed in similar ways. While you might expect a sad child to cry, it’s just as possible that he or she may lash out in what seems to be an angry outburst.
So, use language to describe both your child’s and others’ emotions. Encourage your child to do the same. Then, in moments of difficulty, you might say “Yes, I can see you’re upset that it’s time to go. You seem sad and angry.”
2. Practice Being Angry
In a calm moment, practice being angry using some anger management techniques. You could say, “Next time you’re angry, it can help to take 3 very deep breaths. Let’s practice.” Then, stomp your feet, make an angry face and then practice taking the breaths together. Other techniques you might practice include punching pillows, using a stress ball or playdough, or finding a safe place to yell loudly.
Then, when your child actually experiences anger, you can put these techniques into action and invite your child to try breathing, punching pillows etc.
3. Be An Example
Show your child appropriate ways to show anger. It’s ok to tell your child how you’re feeling, so that they can see that adults also feel anger and many other emotions as well. Use your own techniques such as expressing yourself, taking deep breaths, or saving your anger for when you go to the gym. Processing this with your child will help them learn more strategies and model their behaviour after you.
4. Get to a Safe Place
When your child’s outbursts and angry upsets take place in public, you don’t have to let your child meltdown endlessly. If possible, move with your child to a safer, less public space for your child to calm down. For example, head back home, to your car, or even just a quieter spot in a park. This will give your child the time they need to calm down without the scrutiny of strangers. Furthermore, this will communicate that you hold your child to standards of behaviour when out in public. Kindly removing your child from a difficult situation when they are unable to use appropriate anger management techniques will give your child the chance to calm down before returning or moving on to the next activity.
5. Seek Assistance
Parenting is challenging! Whether you want to make use of a parenting coach or a family counsellor, these professionals can help you establish healthy anger management techniques for your family. Seeking assistance from professionals can be helpful especially if you find yourself overwhelmed with your child’s behaviour. With the right techniques and approach, you’ll find that your child’s expressions of anger will become more manageable.
We all feel angry from time to time, but it can be difficult to guide your child towards healthy expressions of this emotion. The above tips can help you begin working towards better ways of dealing with anger.
Do you have a tip that helps your child with anger management? Tell us about it in the comments below!