Taming the Anger Monster in Children

“Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.”                   

Lyman Abbott

Children get angry – it is normal.  There are many reasons for a child’s anger, such as underlying feelings of embarrassment, tiredness and frustration. The goal is not to eliminate anger but to help children express it in a healthy manner.

The first step is to listen to the child, then acknowledge the negative feelings and then direct the feelings into safe and appropriate outlets. 

Parent: “Time to turn the TV off and get to bed.”
Child:   “Nooooo, I don’t want to and I’m not going to bed now.”
Parent:  “You don’t like when you have to turn the TV off.”
Child:   “No, I don’t!”
Parent:  “It’s frustrating to have to leave your show in the middle.  We can go up to bed and read book- let’s see how many bunny hops it takes to get to your room.”

You’ve acknowledged the feelings, listened to the child’s emphatic “No!” and then came up with a solution that may physically work out the angry feelings as well as re-direct the child to the transition to bedtime.

Remember anger in humans, even little ones, is a normal emotion and learning how to manage it is a skill that lasts a lifetime. 

by Claire Gawinowicz
Parenting Educator
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