Taming the Anger Monster In Children – Part 7

Part 1: Overview
Part 2: What Makes Children Angry
Part 3: Having the Right Attitude
Part 4: Communication Skills – Active Listening
Part 5: Communication Skills – “I” Messages
Part 6: Being an Emotion Coach
Part 7: Putting It All Together

Putting It All Together

Let’s see two different ways a mother can handle a situation in which her 9-year-old daughter demands to go to the mall.

Anger Escalates

Jordan:  Mommy, can you take me to the mall now?

Mother:   I can’t take you now – I have to get dinner ready.

Jordan:  But you promised to take me. You said we could go. You never keep your word.

Mother:  I didn’t say when I would take you. I said I would take you some time in the next few days. Maybe we can go this weekend.

Jordan:  (getting angry) But I need to go now!!! I have to go!

Mother:  (starting to yell) I said I can’t take you now!

Jordan:  I hate you!!! You are so mean!

Mother:  How dare you talk to me that way!? Now, I’m not going to take you, even this weekend.


In this scenario, the mother argued with the daughter and eventually met Jordan’s anger with her own, so the situation escalated.

Anger De-escalates

Now, let’s see how this mother now handles the same situation using the techniques in this article:

Jordan:   Mommy, can you take me to the mall now?

Mother:   I can’t take you now – I have to get dinner ready.

Jordan:   But you promised to take me.  You said we could go.  You never keep your word.

Mother:  You are really disappointed that I can’t take you now.  You were counting on it.

Jordan:  Yeah, I told Bethann I was going to meet her there.  You have to take me now!

Mother:  I can hear by your voice that you are really angry with me.

Jordan:  I want to go now! You’re so mean. I’ll hate you if you don’t take me now!

Mother:   When you talk to me like that, I don’t feel like listening to you. When you are that angry, I want to hear you say instead “Mom, I am really angry.”   Take a few minutes to calm down and think about how you can ask me in a different way about going to the mall.


What de-escalated the situation

In this version, the mother:

  • listened,
  • used “I” messages,
  • took time to calm down,
  • suggested that her child take time to calm down,
  • offered her daughter a more acceptable way to ask her mother for what she wanted.

Once the child is calm, she may be able to come up with other possibilities that will meet both of their needs and wants, such as having Bethann’s mother drive them to the mall or rescheduling the outing to a better time.

Parting Thoughts

Life is full of frustrations and not all problems can be solved to your child’s satisfaction, but the situation does not need to spiral out of control.

Your child may be frustrated, but she can at least know that she:

  • has been heard,
  • has her parent’s respect,
  • can handle her emotions.

When responding to your children’s angry outbursts, consider what kind of relationship you want to have with your children when they are older. If you want one that is based on trust and respect, then you need to build those traits into your day-to-day interactions with your children now.


Your child’s learning to live in harmony with others comes about gradually over many years and in the context of loving relationships.


For more information about managing anger, check out the following books. Purchasing from Amazon.com through our website supports the work we do to help parents do the best job they can to raise their children.

You Can Control Your Anger: 21 Ways to do It by Borchardt The Explosive Child by Ross Greene Angry Kids, Frustrated Parents by Terry Highland and Jerry Davis How to Take the Grrrr out of Anger by Elizabeth Verdick


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