Eight Effective Ways to Manage Child Anger
If your child gets angry often, loses self control, behaves recklessly or doesn’t care about others’ feelings, your child has anger management issues. Kids who act out of anger often end up hurting themselves and others. Some issues can be evident while others can be underlying. Here are some tips for helping kids manage their anger in a healthy and safe manner.
1. Take a time-out
Timeouts are common when a child gets angry and throws a tantrum. If parents react to a child’s rage, it just fuels it. Instead, don’t indulge the child and let them finish their tantrum. Then, send them to their room or designated area as calmly as you can without engaging in the argument. However, if the child is acting aggressively or violently, parents should stop them immediately and make them sit until they calm down.
Other timeout ideas include breathing exercises, yoga, walking outdoors, spending time alone, counting numbers from one to ten while breathing in and out heavily can also help children cool down.
2. Feeling Words
Kids act out by shouting, screaming, punching, kicking and throwing objects when they’re not sure how to express their anger properly. Parents can create a list of words that the child can use to show their emotions to help them express their anger verbally. Teach them different words so they can tell you how they feel in a calm manner.
Some words that are effective include angry, happy, scared, furious, nervous, anxious, irritated and annoyed. Once they learn these words, teach them how to use them in a sentence such as “I am not happy right now!” or “I am very nervous about this.” These are much more effective ways to express themselves than through anger.
3. Let anger out
Anger is triggered via adrenaline glands and testosterone levels in the body, causing heart rate and arterial tension increase. As the adrenaline levels increase, we become more energetic and stronger while speaking louder. This causes an increasingly higher risk of aggression and violence, so it’s important to redirect the adrenaline towards something more productive such as punching a boxing bag, shouting into a pillow or karate chopping paper. Also, running, swimming, playing a sport and playing music are also great ways to manage kids’ anger.
Empathizing with your child encourages them to talk about their anger. Acknowledge their feelings, but don’t cut them off or disregard them. Understand what they’re going through so you can respond and not react. Empathy allows your child to express their feelings without judging them, and will calm them down when they know you’re open to listening.
5. Praise good behavior
Children thrive on attention and often only get it when its negative. However, kids should be praised when they’re displaying good behavior to show your appreciation for their efforts. However, don’t over do it. Too much praise can be bad, as they may not take criticism too well when it’s received. This doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t point out wrongful behavior in a subtle way when it’s being possessed.
6. Set a good example
Children often mimic their parents’ behavior, so set a good example by not having angry conversations and rage-filled rants around them. Parents who often indulge in angry arguments and screaming matches won’t have children who express their anger safely and appropriately. They have to be taught this. By being a model parent and showing how you manage and control your own anger will set your child up for expressing theirs more effectively.
7. Have anger rules
There are some rules that should be taught when dealing with anger. Let your child know that it’s okay to be angry and that “anger” isn’t a bad word, but is healthy. However, they should know that expressing aggressive or violent behavior is not okay and they cannot hit, kick, bite, pinch, use physical violence, scream, name call, say mean things, or anything else you can think of. Be sure your child adheres to these rules or face the consequences you set.
8. Find an alternative
There are many alternatives one can use to prevent children from expressing wrongful anger. Parents can buy a punching bag and let their children hit that (or a pillow) so they know hitting people is not okay. Another way is to let them write down their thoughts and then allow them to tear the paper into as many pieces as they can. They can also draw images that reflect how they feel. Breathing exercises, such as deep breaths or dragon breaths — where you breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth — are great calming tools, as is going to a calm place which will take them out of the chaos of the anger.
Use any of these techniques the next time you find yourself needing to teach your children about anger. These will help them cope with it and allow them to change their behavior earlier rather than later.