Is your child suddenly a hurricane of emotions?
Does it seem that his or her mood shifts with the wind?
Are you afraid that he or she is showing more anger or frustration than you deem appropriate or normal for minor incidents?
- Rest assured, anger is a normal emotion for all young children to experience.
- While anger can cause a great deal of stress for those who become targets, such as parents and siblings, it actually plays a positive role in human development.
- For anger to become a positive force, children must learn to express it in socially appropriate ways.
- Parents play a critical role in this socialization process. They can both model healthy and appropriate ways of expressing anger and can intervene in constructive ways when children show hurtful anger.
- Parents often have an opportunity to intervene when their children express anger.
- If children fight with siblings or friends over toys and push/hit to get their way, parents can turn this negative situation into a positive learning experience.
- By teaching children better ways of getting their needs met… such as taking turns and learning to share, parents guide children towards more constructive anger management.
- Parents can even role-play as a playmate and have children practice requesting to share toys.
- If there is a situation developing between young kids, parents can step in and redirect the interaction before a struggle ensues. Explain why it’s not correct to do something and try not to be angry with the child's feelings so that you both can separate emotions from behavior.
- While the goal is to curb unacceptable behavior like violence and tantrums, parents should keep in mind that they don't want to prevent the child from feeling anger at all.
- It further helps for parents to recognize their child's negative emotion and verbalize what they think their young child is feeling, especially if he can't.
- Most parents of toddlers already know that saying 'use your words' to an angry child will encourage him to express his feelings rather than resort to physical means.
- Parents might also set up an incentive plan that provides modest rewards for children who ask to take turns or share instead of punching or grabbing. This in the long run can help motivate children to work harder at turn-taking.
- If parents really feel that their child's angry outbursts are out of control, constant, violent and/or potentially dangerous, seeking outside help can be a wise decision for the well being of one’s family.
- Parents can constructively help kids deal with anger by not shaming them or telling them that their anger is wrong.
- Children need to learn how to recognize what makes them angry and then respond constructively.
- It’s important to keep in mind that it’s futile to try to reason with your child when he or she is in the heat of anger. Let them blow off some steam first. Whether you sit with them while they express their anger or send them to their room to calm down is a choice you can make based on what works better.
- Once your child has calmed down, talk with him about what made him mad. Help him see all sides of the situation. Try to come up with a new option together… one that meets the needs of everyone in the situation.
- It’s healthy to discuss how your child expressed his or her anger. Tell him that what he did was not good behavior and he did not treat himself or others with respect.
- Reading books about characters dealing with anger can also help children understand that they are not alone in their feelings.
- Although many parents don't realize it, they provide role models for how their children deal with anger. If you as parents tend to scream at each other, say rude things, yell at people, or resort to violence, then be aware that your child is watching, observing and slowly absorbing this behavior and learns to believe it is alright and acceptable.
- You as parents must first learn to manage your own anger and, on occasion, allow their children to see how anger is expressed appropriately. If children see their parents express anger without any abusive language, name-calling or physical violence, then they will learn to do the same.
Parents can show children that they love someone and still disagree with them or get angry with them in a loving way. This is an invaluable lesson that can be taught to your children to make your family affair a more compatible one.