Children have a lot to be angry about. They`re little. They aren`t allowed to do everything they want. They fail at many of the things they try. Bigger people tell them what to do, and since those people are also stronger, they can make them do it. Oppositional behaviour, disrespect, conflict and aggression can often be decreased by helping kids learn how to handle their anger better. If you teach your child anger management skills, it will improve behaviour and give your child one of the` most important life skills.
- Differentiate Between Feelings and Behaviour
Kids often have difficulty understanding the difference between angry feelings and aggressive behaviour.`Teach kids about feelings`so they can learn to verbalize feelings of anger, frustration and disappointment. Often, feelings like sadness and hurt are masked by aggressive behaviour. Teach your child how to identify and verbalize feelings instead of acting them out.
Also, give the message that feeling angry is okay. Anger is like any other emotion and there are times that it is appropriate to feel angry. This can help kids learn that feeling and talking about angry feelings aren`t bad.
- Model Appropriate Anger Management Skills
It`s essential that you`role model appropriate behaviour`to teach kids how to manage their anger. If your kids see you lose your cool, they`ll be much more likely to have trouble managing their own anger or understanding what`s appropriate and what isn`t.
Sometimes parents hide their feelings and frustrations from their kids. Although it`s good to shield kids from adult problems, they also need to see how you handle your angry feelings. Create opportunities to talk about feelings and share appropriate ways to deal with them.
Pointing out times when you feel frustrated teaches kids how to talk about feelings. Take responsibility for your behaviour when you lose your cool in front of your kids. Apologize and discuss what you should have done instead.
- Establish Anger Rules
Most families have unofficial family rules about what behaviour is acceptable and what isn`t when it comes to anger. Some families don`t mind doors being slammed and voices being raised while other families may have less tolerance for such behaviours. Create written`household rules`that make it clear to kids what they can do when they feel angry and what sorts of behaviour will result in a consequence.
Anger rules should center around behaving respectfully toward others. Kids need to learn that just because they feel angry it doesn`t give them a right to hurt anyone. Address areas such as`physical aggression, name calling and destruction of property so that kids know they can`t throw things, break things or lash out verbally or physically when they`re mad.
- Teach Healthy Ways to Manage Anger
Kids need to know appropriate ways to deal with their anger. Instead of just being told, `Don`t hit your brother,` tell them what to do when they feel frustrated. When time out`is used as`discipline instead of punishment`kids learn to take a break on their own to help them calm down.
Kids can also benefit from learning coping skills. Teach them to take a break when they are becoming frustrated. Show them how to relax by doing something enjoyable. Also,`teach problem-solving skills`and help them learn how to resolve conflict peacefully. Most importantly, teach them to walk away when they are angry before they become aggressive.
- Offer Consequences When Necessary
Kids need`positive consequences`when they follow the anger rules and negative consequences when they break the rules. Positive consequences are especially important for kids who usually have difficulty managing their anger. A`reward systemor`token economy system`can provide extra incentive to help them remain calm and use their skills to manage their angry feelings safely.
There needs to be immediate consequences for any aggressive behavior. Depending on your child`s age, consequences may include time out,`loss of privileges.It`s normal for kids to struggle to manage their anger at times but difficulty with anger can cause serious problems for some kids.
Anger Management for Children: 5 Strategies It is never too soon to teach your child how to control her anger so that it doesn`t control her. Remember, however, that it is difficult for young children to master these strategies. Your child will need your help`and a lot of practice:
- If your child is feeling out of control, she should be separated from the person she feels like hurting. She should leave the room.
- Calm down.Teach your child to use some calming strategies when she feels the physical symptoms of anger. She can try taking deep breaths, drinking a glass of water, distracting herself with a song or a story, or playing alone.
- Think before you act.Encourage your child to ask herself, `What do I want to happen`` Explain that vengeance and retaliation are not worth acting on. Being understood and making things right are worthwhile.
- Consider the other person`s feelings.Children can begin to show empathy as young as 3 years old, but they need your help. Try to get her to understand the other person`s point of view, just as she wants her point of view understood.
- Look for possible solutions.Help your child see beyond `I hate you and you`re no good.` See if you can find a compromise that both parties can agree on. Apologizing often helps.
When Anger Becomes Aggression Of course, there will be times when anger turns into a physical melee. Use this as an opportunity to help your child master these aggressive feelings. Here`s what you can do to facilitate anger management for children:
- `Stop the action and restore safety.It`s often necessary to isolate the fighters. Reassure both sides that they`ll be safe, and that they can learn to stay in control and protect themselves.
- Set limits.Lay down the law and let children know who`s in charge when they`re out of control: `No hitting, and if you won`t stop it, I will.`
- Follow through with consequences. A child must face the consequences of his actions if he is to learn to stop and think before he acts. `If you can`t be together without hurting each other, then you can`t be together. If you want another chance to play, see if you can remember this.`
- Forgive.`Children need to know that their bad behaviour hasn`t turned them into bad people. Apologies and making amends help them move from the guilty feelings that come from knowing they were wrong to having hope that they can do better.