Feelings of anger are completely natural and healthy, helping us learn and navigate through life. It’s when anger turns into aggression or violence that it becomes a problem.
It is important we work with our children to effectively manage their anger, turning it into a positive emotion.
Why do children experience feelings of anger?
· Struggling with schoolwork or exams
· Being bullied
· Friendship issues
· Experiencing adults arguing
· A change in circumstances such as a house or school move
· Exposure to a lot of information online
· Teenage hormone changes
· ADHD and autism
So how can we help our children navigate their emotions, learn from what they experience and harness these emotions in a constructive way?
Here are our top tips for helping your child deal with their anger:
- Open up the communication channels – take a non-judgmental approach wherever possible and work through the feelings together. Talking regularly will encourage and build trust. Also encourage your kids to talk to other kids, sibling and friends, or an adult they trust – such as a grandparent.
- Labelling emotions – this is an especially helpful technique to implement at a young age. You can create a set of cards by drawing simple faces expressing emotions e.g. – happy, sad, angry, surprised, worried etc. When your child is experiencing one of these emotions, they can learn to express themselves by learning and visually labelling and using the card as a point of discussion.
- Pick your time – talking a short time after an angry outburst rather than during is always going to prove to be much more productive.
- Don’t give in to anger– this is especially relevant with younger children. Giving in, or even offering what you consider an ‘olive branch’ solution gives the signal that tantrums work and get results.
- Establishing ‘anger rules’ – i.e., establishing that behaviours such as name calling, physical destruction of property, hurting themselves or others, all have consequences. Talking about the rules, exploring potential consequences of bad behaviour – and posting the rules up somewhere visible on a pin board will help remind and reinforce them.
- Setting an example – remaining calm and consistent whenever possible will establish you as a steady and positive role model – when you’re calm your kids will respond by calming down too. This can be challenging at first, but try and bear in mind, by losing control of your emotions and responding with anger yourself will only create the atmosphere you’re trying to avoid! By striving to be open and honest about your own emotions will set a good precedence for your kids.
- Praising good behaviour – reward charts for younger children work well to reinforce and motivate children. For older children, it’s always good to praise positive behaviour by aligning it with the positive impact this behaviour will have on those it affects.
- Encouraging physical activity – whether it’s going on a dog walk, getting out in nature, going on a run, taking part in group activity, simply taking in some fresh air and a change of scenery can do wonders in encouraging feelings of wellbeing.
- Using a tool kit of ‘calm down’ tools and techniques:
- Reading a story.
- Listening to fun, engaging, upbeat of even relaxing music.
Anger management techniques
o Counting to ten
o Going to a quiet place to calm down
o Breathing techniques
o Popping bubble wrap
o Writing emotions down then ripping the paper up
o Giving themselves a hug (wrapping their arms around themselves)
Limiting exposure to social media and ensuring ‘time outs’ from screens and devices.
Being patient as a parent – implementing techniques won’t gain overnight results, stick with it.
If you feel your child’s anger is becoming out of control, or potentially harmful to others, contact us to see how we can help 0333 358 0390 or say firstname.lastname@example.org