Children go through many phases in life as maturity and developments creep in. Angry emotions occur as part of this developing phase, and dealing with this stage is one of our greatest challenges as parents.
What you do in the early development stages of a child can significantly influence how they express anger as they blossom into adults. However, there is a thin line between the normal expression of anger and distressful problematic anger expression as a child.
What Causes Anger Issues in a Child?
Children display anger in different ways for a different reason. They may have distressing underlying mental health conditions such as anxiety, hyperactivity disorder, attention-deficit. Your child may be experiencing overwhelming family life or social situations, such as divorce or bullying. Find the underlying problems and address them to help them manage their feelings.
As parents, we are charged with the greatest responsibility of addressing the child’s anger before it gets beyond our control. Here are some useful tips that could allow us to intervene when our child has emotional meltdowns like anger.
How to Manage Your Child’s Anger Issues
a] Walk the Talk: Parents are children’s firsthand teachers and role models. Every child observes how their parents deal with anger. If parents portray a healthy expression of anger without flipping off, it would be less daunting to help our child control their anger. We cannot control our children’s anger when we are not in control of our anger expression. Hence, it is of greatest importance to recognize we need to be the icon of controlling anger to help our child. Our children become ardent imitators of our behaviors.
b] Time Out: To control a child’s anger, you need to break away from the situation. The timeout space could be the bedroom or any location outside of the anger location. This technique should be introduced before the anger period, adequately explaining why it has to be done properly. Help them calm their nerves until the emotions have subsided. It is important to let the child understand it is not a punishment technique but a calming procedure.
c] Communicate: Understand how they feel. When our children get angry, we need to empathize with how to feel. Clearly understanding just what made them angry will put us in the best position to handle the anger. Communicate with our children in a calm, composed manner to get the picture of why they are angry. Shouting and displaying anger during this period performs zero or no results in getting the reason for their anger. We want to emphatically listen, not with the intent of blame-shifting or faulting, but to provide useful suggestions of how best to handle the situation more positively in the future.
d] Rewards and reinforcements: Positive reinforcements increase the reoccurrence of positive behavior. Parents should provide practical ways to help their children control anger before anger situations or after any occurring anger situations. Taking deep breaths, counting from 1-10, etc. Reward your kids whenever they use this technique, either with commendations, warm hugs, or other suitable reinforcements. Rewards increase the occurrence of displaying positive ways of controlling anger till it becomes their everyday habits.
e] Guidelines: Guidelines should be given to our children on the acceptable and non-acceptable ways of expressing emotions. You should let them know that anger is part of our emotions that should be expressed. However, there are positive ways of expressing emotions without hurting themselves, their parents, and the public in general. Negative expressions like screaming, tantrums, headbanging. Smashing things should be strongly condemned by parents. Such behaviors associated with anger should be strongly unacceptable by parents when displayed.
Normal Anger vs. Anger Issues?
It’s okay to be angry sometimes. We’ve all experienced angry moments. And as adults, we know how it’s difficult to manage anger. However, if you’re noticing that your child is frequently having angry meltdowns or outbursts, has an unnecessary fuse, or quickly escalates to rage, kindly discuss the problems with a pediatrician.
Remember that parents are largely responsible for their children’s behaviour. We want to do this with a firm yet gentle resolve by being role models and aptly grooming our children’s personalities. If parents meet their child’s emotional needs from babyhood, they are likely to develop a good attitude.