Thinking about children's anger

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Here are some of the things we may think when our children get angry and what we can do about it.

My child lacks emotional skils and that’s why he/she gets angry.

This may not necessarily be true for all children, some children can be very empathic and still lose their temper and feel out of control. It may not be that they lack emotional skills but that they are really emotional. Things that may improve this may be asking the child what they think they were feeling before getting angry and saying something like, “well if my sister took my toy I would be sad" or "if my mum said I could not have something I really wanted I would feel disappointed.” This will encourage them to develop their feelings vocabulary.  This will also lead to them feeling more understood, giving them a chance to think about or explain their motives and allowing the child to feel accepted, that's it's ok to feel strong emotions sometimes.

They should just snap out of it.

What was the point of my child getting angry, they should just get over it and move on. Sometimes some children’s anger builds up over time and it may come out in some revenge or retaliation later on. Some children may have an angry moment and be able to recover quickly and get on with life as usual after the event. Other children may also feel remorse and take some time to come to terms with their regret or even disappointment in themselves for not being perfect or in control.  They may also not want to talk about how they feel.  If  you’re the parent of this child exercise a little extra patience, don't encourage them to feel excluded or ask siblings to ignore them to teach them a lesson.  Patience and gentle encouragement will help them to get back to normal.

It’s such a small thing, they have no right to be angry, if anything I should be angry look what he/she just broke

It looked like a small thing from the outside and once again somethings may have been brewing under the surface for a while and built up prior to the angry event. It may also be that the little things add up and it comes out all at once. This is the opportunity to ask the child, when they are calm after the event, what is going on for them? Has something been troubling them lately or what’s on their mind?

It’s easy to react and fall into the trap of giving them a reaction, afterall they deserve it, they brought it on themselves. If they did not get angry in the first place this would not have happened.

We can react, we can yell back, we can chase them to their room we can fight at the doorknob but sometimes we need to backoff and most of all we need to stay as calm as possible. The calmer we are the less we add fuel to the fire.  It also allows the child the skills to be able to work out for themselves what is the best way fo them to calm down and understand themselves on their own. If the angry events happen more frequently, you may want to ask the child "what do you want at that time?" or "what would you like me to do for you when you get angry?". 
How can you support them and what would they find helpful when they are angry or feeling out of control.

I just can’t connect with him/her. I just feel like he/she won’t open up to me.

What’s your reaction when your child clams up. Do you nag, do you tease or joke, do you tell others in the family to ignore them. Angry moments are not the moments to connect.  Although there may be opportunities afterwards.  Offer your child space and let them know where you are when they are ready to talk etc.  No child wants to be alone or totally independent but they do try to test the waters and there are good ways and bad ways to support this phase. 

Would love to hear from you - leave your comment, suggestions or thoughts below.


Lifeasmummymax said...

my little girl gets angry alot. For being only 4 things make her angry easily. Thanks for sharing. I try and stay calm when she gets angry it usually does disappear quicker than if i get angry back at her.

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