Children experience a huge range of emotions as they grow up. Happiness. Sadness. Fear. Anger. These are all a normal part of childhood.
For parents, some emotions are much more difficult to deal with than others. Anger, for one, is an emotion that many parents struggle to squash before it becomes a problem.
And while we all know the challenge of dealing with angry kids, many of us struggle to avoid becoming angry ourselves when our child begins screaming and yelling because they didn’t get their way.
To help you deal with these situations, let’s take a look at a few essential tips for how to deal with an angry child.
5Don’t Fight Anger With Anger
This one is tough. When you’re dealing with angry children, it doesn’t take long before you become frustrated and angry as well.
Letting this anger turn into rage, however, can be dangerous for both you and your child. Not only does it condition a suboptimal response to anger in your child, but it often makes the situation much worse.
To prevent the urge to fight anger with anger, try these strategies:
- Use Relaxation Techniques. Take a deep breath. Repeat a calming phrase to yourself (ex. “take it easy” or “everything is alright”). Close your eyes and visualize a relaxing memory.
- Slow Down.Your child is angry for a reason. Do your best to slow down the situation, understand why they’re angry, and calmly work towards a solution.
- Walk Away to Calm Yourself Down.If you feel yourself on the verge of rage, walk away from the situation for a few minutes. Walk into the bathroom or take the dog outside. Whatever it takes, do everything in your power to restrain yourself from saying or doing anything until you’ve calmed down.
At the end of the day, teaching anger management for children starts with you and your partner having your own plan in place for dealing with anger. After all, their methods for coping with their emotions often come from watching you (the parents).
4Help Your Child Develop a Plan to Calm Themselves Down
Once you have your own plan in place for dealing with anger, help your child do the same.
Teach them relaxation techniques. Show them how to slow down the situation. Let them know how they can maturely walk away from the situation for a few minutes.
In addition, allow them to think of strategies that they know will help them relax. Whether it’s drawing a picture, taking deep breaths, or hugging their favorite blanket, give them the opportunity to become a problem solver.
Showing them how to do these things on their own is crucial. It teaches them to become responsible for dealing with their own anger (which will be necessary when you’re not there to help them deal with it).
3Praise Them When They React to Anger Appropriately
One of the most important steps of how to deal with an angry child involves praising them when they react appropriately to their anger. Once you’ve developed a plan, let them know when you see that they’re trying to use the strategies that you’ve worked on.
It’s important here that you’re focusing on praising the process rather than the outcome. Even if it’s clear that the strategy they’re using hasn’t worked to quell their anger, let them know that you’re proud of them for trying and that you will continue to work together on getting better at it.
2Don’t Let Your Child Use Anger for Manipulation
When you’re dealing with angry children, it’s often because they didn’t get their way. So, if you give them their way, logic would say that they’ll no longer be angry. Unfortunately, that’s just not the way it works.
This is a major struggle for many parents. Children are master manipulators and are relentless when it comes to getting their way. And when they see that you’re consistently caving in to their demands, the manipulation through anger will only continue.
Here’s a few ways that you can prevent these ongoing manipulation attempts:
- Make “No” Mean “No”.It’s important that you establish that no means no regardless of how much bargaining your child attempts.
- Show Them How to Ask Respectfully.You want to child to feel comfortable asking you questions. But only if they’re asking respectfully. Let them know that you’ll consider what they’re asking only if it’s done in a respectful manner (and after their anger has subsided).
1Give Your Child Outlets
In many cases, exercise and other forms of recreational activity are the best way to help angry kids release their angry energy. A few options include:
- Shooting a basketball
- Kicking a football around
- Hitting a wiffle ball off a tee
- Playing with the dog in the yard
- Playing an instrument
These are all great outlets for your child to relieve themselves of their anger in a productive way. Use them to your advantage.
When you’re learning how to deal with an angry child, it’s important that you’re patient. Understand that this is a learning experience for your child and utilize these tips to guide them along the way.
Also read: How Mindful Parenting Benefits Your Kids