Handling an angry child is not always easy, regardless of their size and age. Understanding how to manage your child when they are angry and upset greatly depends on their individual personality and the root cause of their explosions or outbursts. Knowing how to properly address your child when they are angry is essential to provide coping mechanisms that are suitable and successful.
Discuss Your Child’s Feelings In-Depth
Talking about anger and emotions is one of the first steps to take when you notice your child becomes irrationally angry or upset of minor inconveniences. Create a dialogue with your child to express the definition of anger and how it is not uncommon for individuals to feel angry at certain times in their lives. Ask your child why they are feeling angry and whether or not they feel emotions such as sadness or anxiety each time they are upset. Express that you do not love them any less and simply want to help guide them to a happier mindset and way of living. Open communication is key to ensure your child does not feel isolated or alienated whenever they experience anger and feeling despondent from the rest of the members of the family. When you show your child that you are there for them and want to help, you provide a sense of security while strengthening the bond and trust you have with one another.
Incorporate an Anger Thermometer in Your Household
Once your child becomes aware of the definition of anger and how it makes them feel, create an anger thermometer for all of the members of your household. Draw a standard thermometer and include various degrees ranging from 0 to 100. Explain to your child that “0” is equivalent to no anger, whereas 100 means you have never felt so angry in your life. Allow your child to express themselves whenever they are having a fit or tantrum by using the thermometer to better interpret and reflect on their emotions. An anger thermometer is a great tool to utilize to assist your child with learning how to regulate and control their emotions in situations that do not require meltdowns.
De-escalate Angry Situations
De-escalation is one of the most important tools to use whenever you are faced with an angry child. Avoid yelling at your child or fighting back, even if your child is breaking their personal belongings or throwing a fit that is intense and too much for their age. Instead, work on incorporating de-escalation techniques to calm and aid with balancing your child’s emotions. De-escalating a situation provides you with more opportunity to discuss your child’s feelings and the cause of their temper tantrums and outbursts once they have relaxed and settled down. Children are much less likely to communicate and cooperate if they feel attacked, mocked, or antagonized while they are expressing their feelings of anger and upset.
Go for a Walk
Go for a walk with your child when they begin to show signs of rage or unnecessary anger. Ensuring your child is getting enough exercise and spending an adequate amount of time outdoors is necessary to maximize the release of natural dopamine and endorphins (also known as “happy chemicals in the brain”). Going for a walk with your child provides a cooling down time without causing them to feel trapped and overwhelmed in their emotions, especially when grounded or sent to timeout at home.
Teach Standard Breathing Exercises
Learn and share standard breathing exercises and techniques with your child who often exhibits anger and rage. Breathing techniques ensure the brain is receiving enough oxygen while aiding as a form of anti-anxiety. When your child feels in control of their breathing, they are likely to feel as if they have more control over their current actions, which is especially powerful during a meltdown or tantrum. Reinforce the use of breathing techniques by offering positive praise and admiration each time your child chooses to use them when getting through tough situations that may have otherwise led to a meltdown or outburst.
Provide an Outlet to Express Anger and Other Bottled Up Emotions
Outlets are necessary for most children, whether they are the creative type, hyperactive, or if they struggle with managing their emotions on a regular basis. Consider the type of personality your child has to find an outlet that is likely to provide the most benefits both physically and mentally. Discuss various hobbies and activities that are most interesting to your child to discover local community center classes or courses that are most relevant to their needs. Ask your child which outlets are the most appealing and why they are right for them personally.
Oftentimes, children who have unfettered rage and difficulties managing their anger benefit from activities such as learning karate or spending time in a physically-oriented sport. If your child has other interests such as programming, art, or even music, invest in classes that are designed for their age group. When your child feels as if they have their own outlet to turn to, they have the ability to put their excess energy to effective use while feeling proud and positive, rather than upset and angry.
Schedule an Appointment with a Child Psychologist
Consider visiting a child psychologist who specializes in working with children and managing emotions (specifically defiant disorders or children who experience rage and increased anger regularly). Search for psychologists Brisbane who are willing to work with you and your child depending on whether you believe individual therapy sessions are best or if you are seeking a family counseling solution for you and your child (or for all members of your family).
While there is not often one solution to help an angry child overcome lashing out or giving in to tantrums, using the right resources and maintaining an open dialogue is imperative. With the right tips, tools, resources, and professional guidance, help your child to better understand the root of their anger while working together to overcome it in everyday life.