Anger can be described as the inability to calm yourself in a distressing situation.
Anger can be a useful function for informing children when things are unfair or wrong.
But it can also become problematic if a child’s anger becomes overly aggressive or uncontrollable.
In short, anger can be described as the inability to calm yourself in a distressing situation, as well as overly emotional reactions to that situation.
It is ok to feel upset or angry no matter how old you are, however it is not ok to let that feeling overtake you to a point where it is upsetting for people around you. So how to help a child with anger issues?
Here are five simple rules which hopefully will help your child manage their feelings better and improve their emotional development.
The first rule applies to adults.
A child’s tantrum can be a very stressful situation for the parent. However it is extremely important to remain calm. Your behaviour sets the best example to your child, so not letting your own frustration affect you is a great first step to help your child. Try not to raise your voice, yelling will only ignite the situation.
Speak in a calm but firm voice, so your child will hear you but won’t be afraid.
Talk to your child
Whenever you see your child getting overwhelmed with anger, try talking to them. Ask them what has caused it, why are they feeling this way. Sometimes a simple conversation is the best solution.
This will teach your child that it is better to talk about their problems and seek help when struggling, than to deal with stressful things on their own. It is a very important aspect of a healthy emotional development.
Your child will feel protected and perhaps come to you for advice next time they’re feeling overwhelmed, instead of throwing an angry tantrum.
Help them understand what they’re feeling
Again try to understand your child’s emotions better, but also help them understand. Remember, they’re just children. They may not understand things as good as adults yet.
Try by explaining what emotions are, what emotions we feel in different situations.
You can try to make it into a fun game or incorporate it into your child’s daily activities. For example, when reading a bedtime story ask your child about the main character, how do you think they’re feeling? Are they happy, sad, angry? Why do they feel this way?
Being able to recognise emotions in other people, may help children recognise them in themselves too.
Try to find an alternative solution
Explain to your child that reacting in this way is not ok.
Try to help them understand that it’s upsetting for those around them. Devise together an alternative solution, a technique your child could use when starting to feel overwhelmed.
It can be something very simple like taking a few deep breaths or counting to ten.
Also, teach your child that it’s ok to communicate their emotions. They need to know that it’s ok to let someone know that a certain situation is making them angry or upset.
Attempt to recognise your child’s improvements. This will motivate them to do even better.
And do not overthink any setbacks. Children experience feelings just like adults do, it is only normal that sometimes their emotions take over.
As long as you are consistent with practicing and teaching your child, things should improve.
But remember, it is ok to ask for help.
If you feel like you can’t control the situation anymore, consider going to a child psychologist or therapist. They will help you and your child find the solution.
Talking to someone about your parenting struggles can also help you. It can be very frustrating at times so it is good to talk to somebody and have their support.
Being able to handle your emotions in a healthy way is a difficult task, one that even adults struggle with.
Therefore, you can’t expect your child to learn it in just a few days.
Even though it might be a long process it will definitely be worth the time. It will help your child understand their emotions and deal with them in a healthy way, which will benefit them in the future and lead to a positive emotional development and a healthier life.