Tips to Deal With Your Child’s Anger

Are you feeling frustrated by the grocery store meltdowns, refusal for compliance in basic tasks/demands, and the yelling and screaming that permeates the house? When I ask my clients if it is ok to be angry, more times than not they respond with “no.” In fact anger is the most readily available emotion we have as it functions like an umbrella that houses other emotions as well. It might be harder to access feelings such as resentment, jealousy, fear, or sadness without anger, and often times the response is filtered through anger. Since anger is a basic emotion we all experience, I strive to educate my clients that of course it is ok to be angry, BUT it is what we do with our anger that makes all the difference in the world. Read on for tips to help your child deal with anger.

Tips To Help Your Child Deal With Anger:

  1. Size matters. Not all “mads” are created equal and therefore, the reaction to feeling upsetHelp Your Child Handle Anger shouldn’t always look the same. Work with your child to evaluate the size and severity of problems to garner a better, more reasonable reaction. For instance, if the child was disappointed that there was no more chocolate ice cream left, encourage him to asses if this is a big, medium, or small problem. If it is small, there should not be an epic meltdown. Instead, help your child identify a small reaction such as asking for a different flavor of ice cream, identify the positives about alternative dessert options, and establish a different time to get his ice cream (tomorrow night, etc.).
  2. Use your words, not your body. The communication of anger through verbalization allows the child the chance to express their grievance and provide a forum for collaboration and resolution. If a child begins to emotionally dysregulate (i.e. temper tantrum) the problem cannot be solved as this is not seen as a productive medium. Encourage your child to de-escalate through deep breathing, counting, writing out his thoughts, and/or removal from the triggering environment to reduce behavioral reaction and facilitate the setting for calm communication. Give the child time to calm down before working through the issue.
  3. Check your own anger. If your child’s temper is escalating your own mood, take time away to cool off and recalibrate. Removal from the triggering situation will provide both the child and parent time to re-regulate and establish an effective solution to the problem.
  4. Validation is key. Regardless of the nature of the concern, validate the experience of anger but create boundaries about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior to communicate anger. Creating a de-escalation plan for child and parent can be helpful to reduce the duration and frequency of tantrums.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

“I Don’t Want to Talk About It!”- 5 Ways To Encourage Emotional Expression

If your child is resistant to communicating when upset, he may try to deny, hide, or avoid talking about his feelings.

It may be because he doesn’t feel safe expressing himself, or he could be afraid that talking about it will make him even more angry or scared than he already is. It is important for children to learn that as hard as it can be to talk about negative emotions, we need to release those feelings or they can resurface as negative behaviors and cause even worse problems. When I teach this to children, they usually give it a shot and see for themselves that they can feel much better afterwards!

5 Ways To Support Talking About Feelings:

Father hugs his daughter

  • Listen: Focus on your child, show empathy, and remove distractions.
  • Validate: Accept their feelings, even if they seem irrational.
  • Normalize: Help them understand that all emotions are normal and healthy.
  • Problem Solve: Encourage your child to come up with ways to cope.
  • Reinforce: Always praise your child for opening up.

Don’t be worried if your child still doesn’t love talking about his feelings, as this is only one way of expressing them. Some children respond better to drawing pictures, role playing with toys, or playing games to communicate their feelings. I am constantly amazed by how creative children can be when it comes to finding their favorite ways. Whatever method they prefer, encourage them to use it so they can get rid of pent-up feelings and get back to having fun!

Your child’s emotional well-being is important not only so they feel their best, but also because it supports their social and intellectual development. The positive effects are contagious to all aspects of your child’s life!

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