5 best ways to control anger in kids.

“The kids who need love the most will ask for it in the most unloving ways”.. Russel Barkley.

Yes, your whining, screaming, kicking, biting, temper tantrum throwing angry kid needs your understanding and your patience more than anyone else. But instead of understanding them,  we end up in shouting matches with our kids. Either we yell at them to shut up or we give in to their unreasonable demands. Both of which are inaccurate.

Here, I want to clear some doubts about anger, explain that it is a normal emotion and that there is nothing wrong with a child feeling mad. What matters is that anger must be released in the right way.

In this article, I am going to write about 5 ways on how to control anger in kids and explain why they behave the way they do from a psychological aspect.

CAUSES OF ANGER IN KIDS

To control anger in kids, we need to understand why they are getting angry and defiant in the first place. What feels unreasonable to us might be of much bigger importance to the kids. Frustration at not being heard is always the most common cause of anger in kids.

Invariably, it always helps to note down or observe the reason for your child’s outburst. How you responded in the given situation and what led to calming down of the child eventually. Trust me such a small observation will help you deal with anger in children in a much better manner. Some of the other causes are 

Parenting 

Children of angry parents are more aggressive. Children learn and imitate behaviour by watching and listening to others. A child will observe and then role model exactly how the parents behave.

Parenting styles whether it be overindulging or critical can lead to anger issues and temper tantrums in children. Creating a balance between both styles of parenting is very important.

Internet addiction

If your child spends too much time on the internet, compulsive behaviour traits may develop. Basically, at the click of a button, a quick form of entertainment is available to him. So there is instant gratification as a result, the child does not have the patience to wait for tasks to happen or be complete. This leads to a child becoming agitated or angry when interrupted while doing things online. I am sure during these covid times many must have observed such behaviour in their children.

Unanticipated causes of anger in children

In some children, there are frequent episodes of anger, irritability, aggressive outburst leading to harm to oneself or others in the vicinity.  In such scenarios, anger issues often accompany other mental health conditions like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder), autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder. (odd) . When in doubt it is always better to seek professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist

.

How can we as parents help with anger issues in kids

anger in children,
 how to control anger in children.

Role modelling

Kids are good observers. They are always observing their parents, teachers, or people around them. When we get angry in front of the child, shout and scream, the child will follow suit.

Also when a child is losing it, if we respond in a similar by counter shouting at top of our voice, we are setting a wrong example for the kids. I know sometimes it can get very frustrating and difficult to control our anger in response but we need to consciously try to be calm in our approach to dealing with anger in children.

Instead of telling them what to do, we need to show them how to be calm and composed while dealing with a difficult situation.

Also, take responsibility for your behaviour. I understand it is not always possible to remain calm in front of yelling, oppositional angry kids. It is only natural to lose it sometimes, after all, parents are only humans. But once the deed is done, apologize for your behaviour and discuss with the kids how should it have been instead. Lead by setting an example of good behaviour for them.

Understanding your angry child.

Essentially, kids feel that they are not being heard. They feel rejected, are not able to express themselves and respond in anger. We as parents should try to understand their feelings and in turn also explain and make them understand what different types of feelings like anger, frustration,  and disappointment are. This will help them respond in a better manner over time.

Once they calm down, talk to them, help them explore why they were feeling angry. Ask what led them to such behaviour and if they perceive this as the correct way to do things.

Reading stories at bedtime about anger and its consequences will work a long way in controlling their anger through the subconscious mind.  Having a good sleep schedule also goes a long way in controlling anger in children. If they are fatigued and are on low energy after a full day’s routine,  they tend to become disagreeable, grumpy, or have extremes in their behaviour at night. This is a sign of tiredness and not of behaviour. Punishing or reprimanding a child in such a situation might not help.

Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement means encouraging kids by giving them something when they have managed to control their anger in time or when they behaved in the desired manner as taught by you. It does not have to be a costly gift. It could be anything like cheering for them, giving a hi-fi, a hug, acknowledging their good behaviour, or praising them.

Don’t give in to temper tantrums 

The fastest way we manage to calm down a temper tantrum is by agreeing to the kid’s demands. This may be the easiest way but not necessarily the right way to do things.  Always agreeing to their demands will make the kids believe this is the way to get their things done and they will keep repeating it again and again. They are smarter than you think. So stop doing it immediately. Be firm but at the same time receptive to children’s viewpoints. Follow through with appropriate consequences but also be forgiving.

Few on spot anger bursters in kids

  • Hug them, surprise them
  • Count till 10, give them time to cool down. It is Important here is to count calmly, not with aggression or with a threat to punish.
  • Try lowering your voice. Doing exactly the opposite of what they are doing, talking in a neutral, calm, quiet tone, explaining your reason, will do the trick of calming the child most of the time
  • Let them express their anger without any kind of reaction from your side. Again a surprise element. Breaking your routine behaviour will catch them off guard and they will not know how to respond to that.
  • Deviate their attention to something else that is happening around them.

As and when the kids calm down, explain to them that it is okay to feel mad, worried, angry, or frustrated but don’t hurt yourself, others, and surrounding property.

When to seek professional help

how to control anger in kids?

While occasional angry outburst does not mean your child has a problem but if you observe frequent episodes of anger, rage in children over the smallest of issues, uncontrolled anger despite all your efforts, anger causing damage to self and others in the vicinity. When family decisions revolve around, “how our child will react”. Then it is time to seek professional help for understanding underlying causes like ADHD, ODD, Autism, or learning disability. Fact sheets about anger, irritability and aggression in kids by Yale medicine to help understand the need for professional help.

There is no shame in seeking help. asking for help means you care and want the best for your children.

Conclusion

Don’t teach your child to not be angry because anger is a natural emotion and it is only normal to feel angry sometimes. instead, teach them how to process anger in the right way. Try understanding kids before making them understand. Follow the above principles but do not expect results overnight. Repetition of such small efforts and actions will only help you to control anger in kids successfully.

You can also read my blog on, Best resources for how to handle a hyperactive child

FAQ

Why do some kids get angry and aggressive ?

There are many reasons for kids to become aggressive. Style of parenting is one of the most important cause. Children of angry parents are more aggressive. children imitate behaviour by watching and listening to others. A child will observe people around him or her and model exactly how they behave.
Internet addiction is also a known cause of anger seen in children. Compulsive behavior traits because of quick form of entertainment causes instant gratification in children and does not let them develop the skill of patience leading to an angry and agitated child.
some unanticipated causes of anger possibly could be disorders like ,ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), autism, obsessive compulsive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder.

How to help my angry aggressive kid?

Role modelling, instead of telling them what to do,we need to show them how to be calm and composed while dealing with a difficult situation. Try understanding your kid and his reasons for being angry. Positive reinforcement, not giving in to temper tantrums are some of the effective methods to help a child process his anger in the right way.
Strategically reducing screen time and engaging the kid in ofscreen activities will also help in anger management.

When to seek professional help for your angry child?

While occasional angry outburst does not mean your child has a problem but if you observe frequent episodes of anger, rage in children over the smallest of issues, uncontrolled anger despite all your efforts, anger causing damage to self and others in the vicinity. When family decisions revolve around, “how our child will react”. Then it is time to seek professional help for understanding underlying causes like ADHD, ODD, Autism, or learning disability.

3 thoughts on “5 best ways to control anger in kids.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.