In childhood, anger makes you feel unworthy.
In adolescence, it makes you feel powerful.
In adulthood, as a parent, it makes you feel in control amidst the chaos.
Phewww… “Anger is a tricky thing!”
Anger management is hence an essential skill to escape the illusion of a feel it spins. Managing anger and learning to deal with it at a much younger age, without rejecting or validating the emotions is hence significant. Children often get aggressive and angry in their behavior, which is a mere showdown of their inner helplessness and vulnerabilities. Before we talk about how to help your kid deal their anger, every parent must keep in mind that,
“An Angry Kid is not a bad kid!”
Signs of an Aggressive Child
Knowing them better lets us help them better. Be keen and watch for the signs of an aggressive kid. A kid is aggressive when they,
- Lose control of self and unable to stop the outburst
- Unable to express feelings coherently
- Fail to see how their anger is affecting other people, don’t seem to care about other people’s feelings
- Behave recklessly
- Talk threateningly and draw or write about violence or aggression
Possible causes of aggressive behavior in children
Not every kid wants to get aggressive and turn the home down. Anger is an expression of their experiences. They may turn aggressive when they experience,
- Developmental Growth spurt
- Sudden changes in lifestyle, routine, and trauma
- Absence of emotional support and attention
- Modeled anger
- Disconnection as child
Here are a few ideas to help an aggressive child with his vulnerabilities.
1. Time – out
Take a break with your kid, letting your child stop doing whatever he is and get a time-out. When your child is angry and is in a fit of rage, don’t react or reprimand. That will only fuel the anger. Instead of arguing and indulging the child in a heated conversation, give him or her a timeout.
If the child is ranting angrily, let them finish, and then send them to their room, as coolly as you can. The time outbreaks may include counting 1-20, taking a little walk, going to the terrace having family time, and Deep breathing counts
2. The feelings journal
Kids usually tend to shout, scream, punch, kick, and throw things when they are angry because they do not know how to express their anger verbally. A feeling vocabulary is a list of feeling words that the child can use to show their emotions.
Teach them different emotional words that they can use to tell you how they feel. Reading with them the books on emotions, feelings and empathy will help them to build the feelings vocabulary. Talk to them and make them understand that talking is always better than hitting, pinching, and shouting.
3. Let the Anger out of the body
Anger is a reaction of the body and mind getting into survival /fight mode to flush this adrenaline rush and emotions and energy out of the body. Make them to focus their energy on constructive and healthy habits and encourage your child to involve in a sport and encourage jogging or running or swimming that will make them feel fresh.
4. Empathize with the kid
Please sit down with the kid and try to understand what disappointment, or neglect, or failure led to the child’s resentment and outburst. Acknowledge their emotions and talk about it. Understand them and their anger, so they will have a self-assurance that they aren’t neglected and would make them ponder more on their cause for anger and attend to it. Ask them if they would like to go out and have coffee or an ice cream.
Going out of the house helps them to regain their composure. Don’t make an issue of their mistakes. Allow them to make mistakes. It’s one way for them to grow. Let them know that you love them beyond the mistakes.
5. Children seek attention
Always appreciate kid on a good show of behavior. The missing of which can lead to temper tantrums.
6. Set a good example
“Children don’t listen. They imitate.”
Never be too proud to admit when you are wrong. When you admit your mistakes, you will earn the respect of your children and family and you will be teaching your children how to be humble. Parents must learn to resolve their issues in a civil manner without making an ugly spectacle of themselves in front of their children. When you do, your children will imitate you and try to deal with their anger without aggression or violence.
7. The anger Rules
You could advocate the following rules on your house board and strictly practice and preach them!
- No hitting, kicking, biting, pinching, or using any physical violence.
- No screaming – we talk calmly to solve problems.
- No name-calling and saying mean things.
- Never speak when angry. Rather postpone it to when tempers are cooled off. When someone in the house shouts, the rest must listen until the shouting dies out.
- Address the issue when everyone is calm.
- Never argue to score points but to address an issue.
- Learn to shake hands, hug, and make peace after an outburst.
- Stop carrying on like a stuck record by constantly recalling the past.
Children, after all, need to feel protected, heeded to, and safe when they are at their violent most. Don’t tackle the, rather talk to them, help them tame their anger and give them chances to learn. When in anger,
- Going to a calm place, away from what is causing the anger, can also help the child to calm down.
- Draw or paint your emotions. Using colors can be a great way to calm the mind and turn the anger into something creative.
- Find out or make your child find out what calms them down, and remind them of those things when you see them starting to get angry.
These pointers can go a long way in helping you team with your kid and manage temper tantrums and outbursts.
Remember what Lyman Abbott says “Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry”.