How can I help my child with anger issues? (9 tips)

In this article, we will guide you on how can you help your child with anger issues, by giving you 9 tips on how to react, helping you explain anger to your child, explaining the mistakes that parents make in front of angry children, and giving you 3 examples of games to help your child manage anger issues.

How can I help my child with anger issues?

As a parent, you must be aware of ‘How do I know if my child has anger issues’.

Once you’re sure he has anger issues, then you can start helping him.

The first step to controlling a child’s anger issues is to teach the child that frustration is normal, acceptable.

The most important thing is to find ways to control and direct these emotions to something productive instead of denying or repressing it. 

Parents and teachers need to keep in mind that there are many things that make us angry in our adult lives.

Getting annoyed at certain moments is normal. Likewise, children respond angrily to some events, and their reactions are normal.

Adults must allow children to express all kinds of emotions and model acceptable ways to control and communicate them.

Most of the time, children express their anger when they feel helpless. It takes time and effort to understand why one child becomes more nervous than another.

What triggered the nervousness? It is good to realize that anger is a reaction to frustration.

A child who is defiant can behave in this way to cope with addiction and the fear of being alone.

Sometimes a child’s anger causes the adult to make clearer rules, explain better, or make changes in the child’s environment. 

In other words, a child can learn that anger is a red flag that announces to others that something is wrong.

In these cases, the problem is not the child’s anger, but the fact that he knows that it will cause a change in the environment that can be good.

If you want to help your child with anger issues, you have to explain to the child that anger is normal, aggression is not.

Teach them other ways to express their frustration without hurting people or hurting things. To control a child’s anger you must first discover how he feels. 

Can a parent stop a child who hits his brother by asking him why? Maybe he learned from you if you hit when you’re angry.

Explain that anger is OK (“I know how you feel, and it drives me crazy when others borrow things and don’t ask me” for example). 

At the same time, point out that aggressive behaviour is not OK. A parent may respond, “Here’s what you can do when you’re nervous.”

Don’t just tell the child what not to do; say what to do in such cases: 

Don’t hit your brother when you feel nervous, instead come and tell me what happened or tell him to give your toys back or warn him you’ll tell me.” 

Explain, model and set rules – it’s much more efficient. Expect the child to break these rules two or three times. 

How to tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy anger:

Adaptive anger: does the child express his anger, enter the process of trying to resolve his negative emotions, look for solutions to eliminate the situation that causes their anger?

Is the process an adaptive one? 

Unhealthy anger: or does the child just want revenge, hurt others, want to take control? Does the child try to manipulate and influence his colleagues through threats and hostile behaviour?

Does his anger produce negative consequences such as loss of friendship, destruction of property and parents, worried teachers?

Chronic and disturbing anger causes a child or adolescent to see himself as a victim, even if he victimizes others.

He continues to fix the ways in which he was wronged and fails to recognize how their hostile and provocative behaviour has brought painful consequences for him.

Parents are also concerned about ‘are temper tantrums normal for a 6 year old?’

Uncontrolled anger leads to:

For children who continue to show unhealthy anger, some experiences begin to mark them. They lose their friends.

They are no longer invited to parties and are expelled from sports teams. Similar situations occur in school. 

At home they have problems with their brothers, they engage in hostile fights with their parents.

When they become teenagers, they find friends who share their anger.

Anger has three components

  1. Experiencing the emotion

Here are some types of anger challenges your child encounters on a daily basis:

  • Conflict over possessions, which involves the unauthorized lending of property or invasion of space.
  • Physical attack, which involves pushing or hitting the child by another.
  • Verbal conflict, such as teasing or insulting.
  • Rejection that involves ignoring a child or not allowing them to enter a game.
  1. Expressing the anger

This is the part that most parents dread: crying, tantrums, shouting.

Others actively resist the verbal or physical defence of position, respect, or possession in nonaggressive ways. 

Some children show anger through aggressive, verbal, or physical revenge. Others express their anger by telling the provocateur clearly that he cannot play or is not pleasant.

Another manifestation is avoiding or trying to get rid of what triggers them.

  1. Understanding anger

The third component is understanding – interpreting and evaluating emotion.

Because the ability to regulate the expression of anger is related to understanding emotion, children need guidance from teachers and parents in understanding and controlling feelings of anger.

Tips for parents with angry children:

  • Comment on the child’s behaviour when he is good – For example: “I like the way you treated your brother when he took your things.” 

An involved parent who observes can find dozens of things he likes about his child’s behaviour… “I like that you came to the table without reminding you”; “I appreciate how you arranged your clothes even if you were in a hurry to go play”; 

“You were very patient while I was on the phone”; “I’m glad you shared the cake with your sister”; “I like the way you think about others”; “Thank you for telling me the truth about what happened.”

  • Ignore inappropriate behaviour that you do not tolerate: If the child screams and bothers you when you are on the phone, you can answer: “Thank you for waiting while I talked on the phone, now I’m done. What happened.” 

Ignore what you don’t like about your child’s requests when you’re on the phone.

If you answer him when he screams and you are on the phone then you will encourage him to continue to do so.

The screams catch your eye, so next time it will be even noisier to make sure you answer. 

  • Say “no” clearly and firmly when needed: The limits must be clearly explained and always refreshed. Of course, you will not say “no” all the time, when you decide to break the rules and say “yes” explain why. Know when it is acceptable to break the rules and when it is not very important for children.
  • Give your children the opportunity to consume their energy through exercises and outdoor games, at home and at school: Children need physical activity for the same reasons. Remember that you can allow children these activities without endangering their safety. Remember that hugs make strong emotions less difficult for children. 
  • Use humour: A good joke or a little humour can often ease a nervous situation and allow the child to cope. 
  • Do not scream or challenge your child: Parents often provoke their children and scream at them when they annoy them. This behaviour only increases the feeling that you cannot control yourself. Wait until the “storm” calms down.
  • Do not try to talk rationally with a child when you are in the middle of a fight: Many parents use logic when their children are nervous. As adults we use reasoning to get out of tense situations, but for children this is a challenge because they do not have the same ability to stop and think as adults.
  • Do not freeze: Some parents freeze when their children show nervousness or start screaming at them. If you are such a person you will find that the child gets angry for you to give up.
  • Listen to the child: Give your child multiple opportunities to be listened to. Even if you do not agree with the child’s anger and opinion, listen to him. anger and the unimportant feeling make him react to get your attention and force you to listen to him.

Mistakes parents make in front of angry children

  • You get angry too: Responding nervously to a nervous child will never help, it just fuels an already loaded situation. Screams in the child will add another unwanted emotion-fear. The child may stop temporarily to show his verbal anger but it does not disappear, it is only suppressed by fear.
  • You hit the child: Even if you are not nervous and hit the child just to calm the anger and regain control of the situation, it will create a high level of humiliation and fear. 

Refreshing the behaviour by hitting the child will cause other behavioural problems, such as extreme shyness, socializing problems, etc., for fear that you will not accept other behaviours that may be associated with noise.

  • Tease or offend the child: In the intensity of the moment, heavy words can escape. Avoid them. You certainly don’t want to offend your child. He will interpret these teasing through lack of love.
  • You embarrass your child: You make him feel ashamed by reminding him of embarrassing situations from the past.  Or embarrass him with your actions (cover the child’s mouth with your hand, send him to sit in the corner). 

This way you will feed his anger even if you manage to calm him down for the moment.

These rules are valid especially in public, but must also be observed in private.

BONUS: 3 games to help your child manage his anger issues

In the workshops for the development of emotional intelligence, psychologists tell the children that when we are angry we are like a dragon, which puts out flames in its mouth.

And sometimes we can burn with the fire of our anger those around us. 

Therefore, it is important to learn not to let the dragon make his head spin.

The child can also give a name to the dragon, for example, Gorgone, and when he gets angry we can say to him: “I see that Gorgone has come out of hiding!”, Thus making him present to the emotion he feels.

After we tell him the story, we’ll move on to the game…

Game 1 – Flower-candle breathing – + 2 years

We imagine that in our right hand we have a flower and in our left a candle.

We smell the flower (take a deep breath) and extinguish it (exhale). Repeat the exercise 3-5 times.

Game 2 – Pie Breathing – + 2 years

We imagine that in our hand, on a cardboard, we have a hot slice of pie. So we smell it (we breathe in our chest) and then we cool it (we exhale).  Repeat the exercise 3-5 times.

Game 3 – The traffic light of emotions – + 4 years

We print a sheet of paper with the image of a traffic light.

We invite the child to colour the picture and explain to the child that inside we have a traffic light:

When we are on the green – we feel good, we are calm, quiet and relaxed.

When we start to get annoyed – we frown, we tense, we clench our fists – the traffic light turns yellow.

And when we get angry – we kick our feet on the floor, we hit, we throw things, we scream – the traffic light has turned red.

We imitate all these reactions so that the little one can see them and understand each stage separately.

And the last step of the game is to remind the child that when the traffic light is yellow he can use the two games above to calm down, or any other method he prefers: to drink a glass of water, to draw anger, to dance.

This game is for children over 4 years old because it requires understanding the stages of anger.

The object of the game is for the little one to apply the method before getting angry.

The moment the child gets angry, we go down to his level, to make emotional contact with him through touch, look, voice.

We remind him that the dragon of rage has come out of hiding and we suggest that we play the game we learned together.

It is essential to model calm behaviour and accompany it to learn to manage anger.

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Conclusions

In this article, we explained to you how you can help your child with anger issues, by giving you 9 tips on how to react, helping you explain anger to your child, explaining the mistakes that parents make in front of angry children, and giving you 3 examples of games to help your child manage anger issues.

Parents and teachers need to keep in mind that there are many things that make us angry in our adult lives.

Getting annoyed at certain moments is normal. Likewise, children respond angrily to some events, and their reactions are normal. 

Adults must allow children to express all kinds of emotions and model acceptable ways to control and communicate them. Explain, model and set rules – it’s much more efficient.

Expect the child to break these rules two or three times. 

Parents who are unable to see their children ask Do i have to pay CSA if i don’t see my child?

If you have any comments or questions on the content, please let us know!

FAQ about How can I help my child with anger issues

What causes anger issues in a child?

Most of the time, children express their anger when they feel helpless.

It takes time and effort to understand why one child becomes more nervous than another.

What triggered the nervousness? It is good to realize that anger is a reaction to frustration.

How do I help my child with anger issues?

The first step to controlling a child’s anger issues is to teach the child that frustration is normal, acceptable.

The most important thing is to find ways to control and direct these emotions to something productive instead of denying or repressing it.

Is anger a symptom of ADHD?

Anger is not a symptom of ADHD by itself. Anger is a normal emotion that everyone can feel, no matter their age.

Parents and teachers need to keep in mind that there are many things that make us angry in our adult lives.

Getting annoyed at certain moments is normal.

Likewise, children respond angrily to some events, and their reactions are normal.

Is anger a learned behaviour?

Anger is not a learned behaviour, but a natural emotion. However, anger styles are learned.

Thus, a parent should be careful and mindful of how he/she expresses their anger in front of their child. 

What are the 4 types of parenting styles?

The 4 types of parenting styles are authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved, authoritative.

What is tough love parenting?

Tough love parenting is a style of parenting that does not allow the child to do exactly what he wants.

This style of parenting is not enabling, quite the opposite.

Recommendations

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did), by Philippa Perry  (Aut

No-Drama Discipline: the bestselling parenting guide to nurturing your child’s developing mind (Mindful Parenting), by Daniel J. Siegel  

Mindful Parenting in a Chaotic World: Effective Strategies to Stay Centered at Home and On-The-Go, by Nicole Libin

Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, by Rebecca Eanes 

What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.

References

  1. Denis Waitley, Raising Confident Kids
  1. Kent Hoffman, Raising a Secure Child: How Circle of Security Parenting Can Help You Nurture Your Child’s Attachment, Emotional Resilience, and Freedom to Explore

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