Anger management in kids is a topic that is quite discussed among parents these days. Different kids express their anger in varying degrees. Anger is just a human emotion and is normal for one to be in that emotion. As adults we too get angry but when it comes to kids, due to their lack of experience, they become unaware of how to deal with it. This might lead to an increase in aggression and violence that further leads to trouble for the parents in communicating with their child at that moment. As parents, we must guide our children in managing such situations in a healthier way instead of resisting it. Let me share a few ways to help kids manage their anger issues.
Anger Management in Kids | 13 Ways to Teach Children Anger Management
Below are some effective tips on how to teach kids to control anger or express it in a harmless way.
1. Let the emotion flow
Be it any emotion, especially anger, allow your child to express it than stagnate. A child who cannot get angry is in as much danger as a child who cannot control his anger. While it is sometimes a better idea to temporarily suppress anger (to avoid getting into physical aggression), unexpressed anger can backfire too, possibly resulting in mental or even physical concerns, such as high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and sleep issues, or even vocal changes. An important lesson that has to be taught to kids is that ‘It is OK to be angry as long as it doesn’t hurt people or property’.
Communication is my go-to mantra for most of the issues as I strongly believe that majority of the problems can be sorted peacefully with words. Talk to kids as much as possible. Make them aware of the rights and wrongs, dos and don’ts, all of it with proper reasoning. Don’t just devoid them of doing anything wrong by saying a NO or a DON’T, instead explain to them with reasons as to why he/she shouldn’t.
3. Be a good role model
Be what you want your kids to be. If kids live in a household where shouting and throwing things are acceptable they are sure to do the same. Show them what we want them to do – such as doing what we love, like gardening or listening to music, writing your emotions out to release the stress, or getting engaged in any sport or hobbies. Be the change that you expect to see.
4. Do acknowledge your child’s feelings
Ensure you listen to your child when they feel low or angry. When you validate them, chances are less that kids would defend themselves and rage out. Be empathetic. Instead of saying, “ Stop doing it”; use words like, “ I understand, if I were you I would have felt the same”. This makes them feel you are approachable and builds trust in you. Some kids might want to be left alone when they get angry, assure them you are nearby and can be reached anytime they want.
5. Set clear standards for acceptable and unacceptable behavior
This is very important when it comes to anger management in kids. Ensure you set a list of dos and don’ts for the family members and have everyone adhere to it. You could set common rules of engagement which include: no hitting, screaming, throwing, breaking objects, or disrespect towards anyone. This would help children respect the rules set in the family.
6. Get kids engaged in what they love
This is the best method to relieve out anger. Have your little one get engaged in whatever they love. Anger management activities for kids can be anything like drawing, writing, reading, playing, or music. Some might even like to express their anger via drawing. I remember doing this when I was little. Whenever my dad shouted at me, I used to draw him with a big tummy. The angrier I was bigger the tummy. It worked very well for me to come out of the anger. For some, it might be a walk or even playing with pets. These are very peaceful methods to calm yourself.
7. Problem Solving
Talk to your little ones as much as possible. When they are angry about a situation teach them to solve the problem. Sit down and get them to write down the possible solutions to their problem. Add solutions of your own at the end and get them to choose which solution they want to try. This would help kids in long run and is an ideal way to control anger and help make decisions.
8. Practice being warm and generous with hugs and praises
A kind loving touch can help defuse a tense situation. A timely hug can ward off feelings of frustration or anger. Do praise your child for their attempts not just their achievements. Words can soothe all challenging times if used well. Talk about the good things they have done, their strengths and how could they make a difference the next time. Give them examples of yours or anyone you can relate to. Make it easy for them to understand that everything has a solution and that being in anger is not going to do any good.
9. Encourage sports and exercise
These are effective ways to wave off negative vibes or “burn off steam.” Getting into physical activities will help little minds to engage productively. This would help in building up physical as well as mental health. Yoga, karate, and also sports involving lots of physical movements are good anger management activities for kids. As it is said, ‘An empty mind is a devil’s workshop’; sports help in keeping the minds busy giving less chance for any wrong thoughts to invade.
10. Avoid over pampering
A common mistake we parents do is pamper our little ones too much. We try giving them everything they ask for not realizing eventually they would lose the value of things as it is easily available. Kids would not be able to take a NO from parents on a later stage which might provoke them to get angry.
11. Curb excess usage of electronics
Staring at a screen all day would numb the little minds. This would also make them lazy and inactive in other sports. Over a period of time, they would get addicted to electronics. Thus they would lose on more useful exercises and face-to-face social interactions. Parents should have control over it and ensure they are not permitted for more than two hours a day.
12. Practice compromise and negotiation
This works wonders. Try to talk with your child and get onto a compromise when there is a tough situation. It is advisable to negotiate than giving commands. This not only reduces the chances of getting angry but also helps in building up skills like problem-solving, negotiation, and decision making.
13. Keep talking to a minimum
When a child is angry or in a fight mode, they can’t process information. This is not the time you try to advise them as they can’t take in a lecture at this point. Your goal is to help them pass through this rough moment. It is best to keep talking to a minimum. When you speak, make sure you use a neutral, calm, and quiet tone. Keep it short and simple. Repeat the words often to make them understand better.
Anger management in kids should be taken seriously at an early stage. As it is rightly said, sooner the better. Try to spend as much time as possible with your little ones. Speak with them, play with them, and know your little ones very well. As parents, we must guide, help, and support our little ones in coping with anger. Kids are innocent, they don’t keep the grudge for a long time but their reactions while in a flight mode can be instant and at times violent. Proper guidance and timely help would make the difference.