How to handle your child’s anger?
Anger is one of the most basic emotions shown by all human beings. Everyone has bad days and anger intensifies such situations. Some of the most common manifestations of anger are – screaming, throwing objects, slamming doors and being abnormally rude to others.
As we grow older, we learn to control our anger, as it is not appropriate to display such behaviours. Anger is perceived as a negative emotion in society.
Your little ones find it harder to manage their anger unlike you. They haven’t fully grasped the concept of societal norms. They don’t think about the consequences of their actions while acting.
They may display their anger by throwing a tantrum, kicking, hitting, screaming, crying and ignoring their parent’s wishes. This becomes problematic, especially if you’re in a public place. Not only it is tiring for the parents but also irritates the people around them.
Some parents might try to force or bribe their child to silence if he agrees to be calm. This usually happens when you’re in a public place. Children may calm down almost immediately when they have something to gain. For example: When parents refuse to buy their children something like a race car, they may get upset. If you refuse after they insist, they may throw a tantrum or start screaming.
Imagine yourself in a packed mall with your child who refuses to let go of a toy. This certainly puts you in a difficult position – On one hand you don’t want to purchase the toy for whatever reason and on the other hand, your child has managed to gain the attention of everyone in the mall. In such case ignoring and asking him to finish crying and then come out is the only solution if he creates a scene.
Kids usually calm down after a few minutes or hours – depending on the magnitude of their anger. How can you teach your child to control their anger?
Don’t respond to anger with anger: Sometimes when children scream, parents tend to scream back. The message gets lost in this conversation and leaves both parties even more frustrated. As a parent, you should try to maintain a calm and collected front. Be loud and clear with your message and maintain the tone of your voice. Sound assertive but not angry.
A question rather than accuse: Try to understand the root cause of your child’s anger. Sometimes children act out when they have trouble expressing themselves directly. Don’t push your child, if you think it will worsen the situation but dig deeper later. Why does he want that specific car?
Why does he refuse to go to school? Maybe he’s experiencing problems either academically or socially. You will never know if you don’t try to ask. Check if it is a Need or a Want. A Need means you want it because you liked it. A Want means because someone has it. By doing this it becomes easy as a parent to take decision.
Verbalize feelings: Encourage your child to verbalize his thoughts. Bottling up emotions is not good for anyone in the long run. Let your child know that you are ready to listen to him.
Notice: Keep a watchful eye on your child. Notice what kind of environment triggers his mood. Are there certain people he feels restless around? Or certain activities which he doesn’t want to do? Does your child’s anger affect the people around him or her?
Did you receive any complaints from school? Small children are also likely to project their anger on others. You have to handle the situation before it gets worse.
Monitor Physical Changes: When children get angry many physical changes take place in their body. Their breathing and heart rate escalates. They may start shaking with anger. Do not just target your child’s mood, target his body. Show him how to take deep and controlled breaths. Simple breathing exercises can monitor their breaths as well. Reciting numbers up to a certain count, say 10 or 15 could help calm down their racing heart as they begin to focus on something else.
Appropriate action: Be empathetic but also authoritative. Anger outburst should not become a daily habit. In such a case, you can enforce ground rules and punishments such as making your child do household chores or minimise their playtime. Sometimes little physical activities like colouring can help your child manage his emotions. You can teach your child to draw or scribble on paper until the impulse fades. This allows them to channelise their energy somewhere else.
When your child is angry the worst thing you can do is to give in to his or her wishes. He may believe that throwing tantrums is a good way to get what he wants. Maintaining a positive atmosphere at home can encourage good behaviour.
Most importantly, act as a good role model. Children usually pick up habits from the people around them. If your child sees you fighting with your spouse frequently, he will be influenced by this negative energy. He is more likely to scream or throw tantrums.
• Everyone experiences anger in one’s life. Anger may manifest in behaviours such as screaming, throwing objects and hurting others.
• Kids sometimes find it difficult to verbalise their feelings, so they act out. Parents must help them identify their basic emotions and figure out the root cause.
• Parents should observe their children carefully. They should watch out for both emotional and physical changes. Knowing what triggered your child’s anger can help fix the problem.
• As a parent, you should maintain your composure when you interact with your child. Make him aware of the fact that his actions have consequences and appreciate his good behaviours.