How to Help Your Angry Child Manage Their Anger
Many parents believe in the same myth: if they do everything right, their children will be happy. But that’s not how childhood works.
No matter how much you love your child or how much you give to them in the way of attention and material items, kids are still going to experience all kinds of emotions, including anger. Rest assured that anger in children is quite normal.
Anger Can be a Sign of Anxiety
While childhood can be amazing, it’s also a time when children often feel constrained, scared, and confused by the world around them. These feelings, combined with growing pains, an increase in hormones and the pressure of doing well in school and extra-curricular activities, quite naturally lead to frustration and anger.
But sometimes, anger can actually be a sign of anxiety. Common symptoms of anxiety include feeling on edge, irritability and unexplained outbursts.
4 Ways to Help Your Child Manage their Anger
Whether your child is dealing with normal feelings of anger or expressing deeper emotional distress such as anxiety, it’s important to help your child manage their anger in a responsible way. Here are 4 ways to do just that.
Recognize that Your Child’s Anger is Normal and Healthy
You can’t help your child if you see them as the Enemy. Feelings of anger are completely normal and natural for human beings of any age to experience. It’s important to approach your child with this understanding.
Your job is not to STOP them from feeling anger. It’s to help them calm down and eventually process their anger in constructive, not destructive ways.
You might try the following statements to help calm your child’s anger:
- “It’s OK to be angry. Would you like my help?”
- “I love you and you’re safe.”
- “I wonder if you need a sandwich, a nap or a hug?”
Stay Calm Yourself
If only your child chose to be angry on the days most convenient for you! Not on days you had an argument with your co-worker and then got stuck in traffic on the way home.
It’s important to remain calm when your child is having a fit of anger, even on those days you feel like blowing your own top. This will not only help keep the situation under control, but will also teach them through action how to control their own emotions as they grow and develop.
Here are some ways you can keep your own anger in check with confronted with an angry child:
- Breathe deeply
- Use positive self-talk
- Focus on your child’s resilience and strengths
- Remind yourself of how much you love your child
- Do not take your child’s anger personally
Validate Your Child’s Anger
Never tell your child they shouldn’t be feeling something they’re feeling. If they are feeling frustrated and angry, chances are there is a very good reason for it. So validate their anger.
This can be as simple as saying, “You seem very upset right now,” instead of saying, “Hey, calm down, there’s no reason to get so angry.” Validating their feelings will help them identify their emotions and not feel bad or ashamed of them.
At the same time, it’s important not to condone destructive behavior. If your child is hitting, lashing out or out of control, let them know there are better ways to express their anger.
You might try the following statements:
- “It’s okay to be angry, but I won’t allow you to hit. We need to make sure everyone is safe.”
- “It’s not OK to…would you like to try…instead?”
- “I can see you’re really angry with me. Can we start over?”
- “Is there anything you need me to understand?”
- “I’m getting frustrated, and I’m going to move over here to calm down.”
Help Them Release Their Energy
Help your child deal with their anger in positive ways instead of negative ways. Very young children may want to draw out their anger. Older children may want to run around in the backyard. Teenagers may want to lift weights to get that energy out. Squeezing stress balls and bubble wrap is a fun way to get the anger out and it often ends in everyone having a good laugh.
Feeling anger is a natural part of life. Don’t make your child feel bad for their anger and don’t feel like you’ve somehow failed as a parent because your child experiences anger. Anger exists and we all have to learn to process it in healthy ways.
Begin Online Counseling for Kids and Teens with Anxiety in Illinois
Some kids have more anger than others and child anxiety can masquerade as anger. In some cases, such as divorce or sudden loss, a child may be dealing with the kind of anger that requires professional counseling.
If you feel your child could use some help with their anger, it’s wise to seek support from a therapist.
Online therapy at Briefly Counseling can help. Anger due to anxiety may feel overwhelming to your child, but it is highly treatable. Often having a hopeful conversation about feelings and specific ways to move forward is the best way to regain confidence and feel better emotionally.
As an experienced and caring therapist, I love providing online anxiety treatment. To start your child’s counseling journey, follow these simple steps:
- Click on the Schedule an Appointment button.
- Select a day and time in my online calendar
- Or learn about me, your caring online therapist
- Watch your child gain confidence and feel better
Other Counseling Services at Briefly Counseling
Anxiety counseling for kids and teens isn’t the only service I offer in my Chicago and Illinois online counseling practice. Other mental health services provided by Briefly Counseling includes Christian counseling.
Helena Madsen, MA, LCPC is the founder of Briefly Counseling. I specialize in providing online short-term anxiety treatment for kids and teens ages 7 – 19.
I provide all services via online therapy in Illinois. Whether you’re in Naperville, Chicago, Champaign, Rockford, Libertyville, or Crystal Lake, I can help you. Schedule your appointment or consultation today. I look forward to working with your child to quickly and effectively help them in activating their strengths, resources, and resilience, in order to live with confidence and hope.
Visit my website at www.BrieflyCounseling.com for more information or call 224-236-2296 to connect with me personally.