Anger is a normal but powerful emotion. Children often don’t know how to express it or cope with it in healthy ways. If your child routinely struggles with angry outbursts, here are some ways you can help them.
Talk Them Through It
One of the first steps you can take is simply talking to your child about their anger. Rather than getting angry in return, dialogue with them about why they feel that way. Be careful to not speak harshly or loudly. This will only aggravate the situation. Reasoning with them may also increase the severity of their outburst. Ask them open-ended questions about why they are angry. This can help them process their emotions more effectively. Remember your own behavior sets an example. Be aware of how you react when you are angry. Staying calm can help de-escalate the situation.
Teach Coping Skills
As mentioned previously, children learn from your example. This means you can teach them healthy coping skills by demonstrating them. For example, outwardly evaluate your feelings when you are upset. Describe how you handle them, so your children can learn. You can do this by saying things such as, “I’m upset because that driver did something unsafe, but I am not going to yell at them.” You can also offer them alternatives to how they handled their situation. For example, you can say “Next time, don’t hit your brother. Use your words instead.” Alternatively, you can encourage them to work out their anger by moving around. Have them do laps around the yard, or jumping jacks for a minute. This may help them calm down and be less tense.
Seek Help if Necessary
If your child routinely struggles with severe anger outbursts, or acts on their anger in violent ways, it may be time to seek help. Anger management counseling and therapy can help your child work through their powerful emotions, identify their triggers, and de-escalate situations. Christian counseling can use additional Biblical support to encourage and grow your child. This type of treatment may not be effective or right for every child and situation, but it might be worth trying.
Anger can feel overwhelming at times, but is not impossible to overcome. And children typically learn how to better handle their reactions with age. Be your child’s support as they grow and learn.