6 ways to help an angry child
Anger is a healthy emotion but when it is regularly expressed as a way of coping, it might be time to look a little deeper and offer more help and support:
1) Encourage inner peace
Children that feel connected and understood by their parents get less angry with each other. The connected child, growing up in an environment that nurtures emotional well-being, observes health expressions of anger through pro-social modelling. They watch how their parents deal with anger and frustration constantly. Connected parents know their children well, treat them as people, not objects that will obey and do as they are told. Attached parents don’t have to be harsh to get their children to co-operate. The child that does not feel connected operates from inner turmoil. Deep down they feel something is missing and that they are misunderstood. This feeling can continue into adulthood.
2) Encourage freedom of expression, not suppression of anger
Encourage your child to identify their emotions. Labelling emotions is the first step in identifying inner health and being emotionally intelligent. Listen to your child and help them work through their negative emotions in a health way. Allow them to be angry. Show empathy and understanding rather than judgement. Figure out what is causing them to feel angry and try to come up with mutually agreeable solutions.
3) Look past the “bad” behaviour
When a child acts out it is because they do not know how to verbally express their anger or inner turmoil. There is no such thing as a bad child – only a misunderstood child. I know it can be tough to think this way when you are faced with an unreasonable, indolent child but they need understanding, not punishment. It can be devastating for a child to feel they are “bad” and this can fuel their anger rather than helping them. Teach your children to deal with anger is ways that help them not hinder them.
4) Encourage a sense of humour
Seeing the funny side of life is crucial, especially in times of adversity and strain. Teach your child to lighten up and realize that things are never quite as bad as they seem and that they won’t feel angry all the time.
5) Manage your own anger appropriately
Children learn from observing their parents. They see how you deal with annoying people, arguments with your partner and general frustration in life. Be aware that they will pick up your habits and it pays to model pro-social behaviour for your children.
Staying calm in the face of chaos and crisis is essential. Expressing anger is important too. Verbal expressions are completely acceptable but hitting out and hurting others physically or breaking things is not acceptable. Clear boundaries need to be enforced. Teach children that out of control anger rarely solves anything but that negotiation and compromise can make all the difference.
Photo by roseannadana