Anger is a reaction to something a person cannot tolerate. Most children feel angry when they lose power to control something. Rather than learning from rejections or failures, they start becoming angry. Anger not only affects the situation but also affects the person and can hamper the health and life of a person in the long run. Parents need to work in helping children with anger. Many effective child anger management activities can be implemented to help children manage their stress and stay away from anger.
Child anger management is a process that parents need to follow to help their children to control their anger. As it turns out to be, young children have many things to get angry with, even if they are little things. Their instincts are hard to control and you need to either compromise or take required actions to rectify their mistakes.
Helping Children Cope with Anger
Most parents struggle to understand as to what exactly is bothering their children and want to know various strategies to analyze and manage the situation. Here are some ways in which parents can help children cope with anger.
Awareness of Feelings
It may seem obvious to adults but children may not know what anger feels like. Parents can help them by letting them know the ways to recognize that they are feeling upset and angry. Signs and symptoms of getting angry like heavy breathing, pounding heart or getting warm need to be explained to children in the first place. Parents can acknowledge the feeling of child's anger and point out emotion by saying "I can see that you are angry right now". This is required in order to make child aware about the feelings. Over the time, with your required help, children will start realizing the kind of situations that make them angry.
It is good practice to teach certain feelings to your kids such as to verbalize feeling of frustration, anger and disappointment. Also, you can teach your children about how to verbalize or identify feelings instead of letting it out. Making children learn about the feelings of anger and talking about angry feelings can help them appreciate better ways of expressing emotions instead of getting angry.
Model Appropriate Anger Management Skills
Children learn from adults, and parents are expected to be good role models, particularly when it comes to anger management and behavior issues. Sometimes parents don't talk about their feelings and frustrations that happen. If parents have problems in managing anger, necessary actions must be taken to adopt better anger coping strategies. When helping children to cope with anger, parents must not to lose cool either.
There is no need to shield kids from adult problems and they also need to see how you handle your feelings of anger. Create opportunities is always a good feeling to share appropriate feelings.
- Point out to children that you are feeling frustrated or disappointed about their anger or behavior.
- Take responsibility of your bad behavior when you are getting frustrated in front of your children. Apologize in front of your children by saying that you are sorry for yelling today and should not repeat the same mistake again.
Establish Rules of Anger
Some families have certain anger rules, which specify which actions are acceptable and which are not when it comes to anger. Certain families are strict about not raising voice or slamming the doors while other families have different rules. You can create a household rule against anger and mark a punishment with the rule. Certain rules make it clear to the kids what they need to do when they feel angry.
Anger rules should be built around improving behavior of children and behaving respectfully towards each other. Parents have to make it clear to their children that feeling angry doesn't give them the right to do anything including hurting anyone or even self. Parents must address few areas such as destruction of property, name calling, physical aggression is not acceptable. Instead, promote fair communication amongst family members and allow children to express their feelings, even about anger.
Child Anger Management Activities
Child anger management activities include some steps that can be taken by parents when helping them to cope with anger. Such activities can be practiced by the entire family, which not only helps to control anger, but also helps children understand family members better and build better interpersonal relationships. Children can cope with anger and bear positive feelings in their mind, when they feel safe, secured and loved by their family members. Co-operation and support is needed to ensure children are brought up in a healthy, positive manner at the same time understand and learn better ways to cope with negative emotions.
Healthy Ways of Expression
Children need better ways to cope with their anger. Instead of telling them to avoid anger, parents can tell them what to do when they feel angry and help them with it. Parents can use some special words like "Time Out" in order to make kids learn about taking a break in between. Discipline is important in order to help kids learn about when they need to take break and calm down.
Coping skills help kids to grow and parents need to try different strategies to see what suits their children. Show them how to relax by performing other enjoyable activities such as learning how to resolve conflicts peacefully. Parents can practice some coping strategies so that children enjoy the same. For example, thinking about the problems and discussing about it, finding different ways to look at the same problem and brainstorming about better ways that would answer the problem statement. With this, children can learn that getting angry only disturbs everyone, while talking and taking others' views with an open mind helps to cope with anger.
There are two kinds of consequences that parents can make your children to follow. These are the rules that decide consequences or outcome of any action. Positive consequences are extremely important as they help children to control anger. A reward system can help children to get some extra incentive each time they get angry. An extra incentive can help your child to use their skills effectively in managing angry feelings in safe and better ways.
On the other hand, parents can even plan for negative consequences as it can also help in controlling anger in worst circumstances or during exceptions. Depending on the child's age, consequences can be designed as per requirement and is usually the last resort to help child cope with anger. Parents can tell children to abide by the rules or face consequences, which could be not getting the reward for the day or sometimes even taking away some privileges.
A healthy routine is a must for children. Changes in routine or not having a proper routine promotes unexpected behavior, which have negative impact on a child's health and life. Some of these include a healthy lifestyle
- Sleep - Children between the ages of 4-12 must get sleep of around 10-12 hours due to their hyper physical activity involved. This is extremely important for the children in order to get recharged and can help in regulating behavior as well. Adequate sleep can help to avoid negative emotions including anger and also make children more productive to be able to cope with anger.
- Diet - Eating a balanced, healthy diet can help your child to grow both physically and mentally. With better functioning of brain neurons, most children show positive, balanced and calmer behavior. It is equally important to avoid junk, heavily seasoned and processed food to promote health and cope with anger.
- Water consumption - Consuming good amount of water can also help in maintain an electrolyte balance and keeps children well hydrated. This can help in controlling emotions making children more focused and will be able to manage their stress in a better way.
- Exercise and Yoga – Regular exercise and yoga helps to improve blood circulation, improve muscle strength and promote better signaling through the brain. It gives them confidence and helps to relieve their stress, thus avoiding anger and other negative behaviors. Deep breathing techniques are also useful to practice, when children feel angry and cope with the situation.
Structure Better Environment
Creating a good environment is extremely important for children. They learn from their surroundings and giving them a healthy environment can help them to develop into a better person.
- Home - This is where children learns the most. It is imperative that home environment is created in such a way that children don't learn anything wrong. Parents must make an additional effort to ensure that home environment is established in such a way that it doesn't spoil child's habit, instead it should promote good behavior and healthy anger management practices.
- School - Children learn most of their habits from school. It is also the right place where behaviors can be spotted and rectified. A good teacher can help control anger of any children and also helps them take care. Parents can help by communicating with the teachers and receiving their feedback to improvise on it.
- Alternative location - A safe location can be created where children can release their anger. Some parents prefer it to be lawn area or playground at home where children can divert their anger into playing sports or any game. It can help them release negative energy and start learning from it. Most children need a daily dose of free play to avoid and cope with anger.
- Extracurricular activities – There is no denying the fact that children learn the most habits from extracurricular activities. It is a good thing to let your children involved in sports games, dance, painting, drawing, bike, jump rope, create play, poems, write a story or anything that can be productive. Even activities related to music can be really helpful for your kids. Parents can find about their child's interest and train them to promote healthy thinking and good behavior.
- Get help- If things do not work as expected, it is not a bad idea to take professional help from experts in order to get counseling for your kids.
In case of certain kids, it becomes hard to manage anger at all times but anger can be a serious problem in kids especially later on as they grow in their life. If you are concerned about child's behavior or management issues, then you can even seek professional help. A trained person will be able to rule out any underlying issues and also rule out any other mental issues, which may require behavioral management plan.