It's natural to experience anger, but if your child is having trouble controlling their feelings of anger, you may be considering seeking extra support.
This article discusses spotting the signs, understanding ‘anger issues’, and learning how best to support your child.
What are 'anger issues' in children?
The term "anger issues" may sound daunting, but it simply refers to being unable to manage difficult emotions in healthy ways.
It may look like your child becoming extremely distressed and upset about seemingly ‘minor’ issues or they may display huge bursts of anger that last a long time. This can have a greater impact on other aspects of their life, such as experiencing difficulties building friendships with their peers and managing conflict.
Where might anger issues come from and how do they develop?
Children experiencing difficulties with anger can occur for many reasons. Sometimes, it's because of circumstances at school, at home, or with friends.
At other times, it may be learned behaviour from witnessing family dynamics or how they choose to express themselves. Some children may find it challenging to express how they feel, so they use anger to show they're upset.
Ways to support your child to manage their anger
Here are a few suggestions to support your child with their anger:
Teach your child some techniques to calm down when they're really angry. This could include taking deep breaths, counting to ten, or even squeezing a stress ball or chosen toy.
Encourage your child to talk about how they feel. Make a comfortable space where they can be honest about what may be impacting them. Make a regular time each week or day to discuss difficult emotions.
Encourage your child to become a problem-solving superhero. When things don't go their way, encourage them to think of their own solutions instead of becoming frustrated.
Model healthy ways to manage anger. Children learn from you. Be mindful of modelling healthy ways to manage your own anger.
Encourage mood-boosting activities. For example, playing games or taking a walk can help your child get rid of feelings of frustration.
Having a routine helps children feel safe. Anger can sometimes be rooted in feelings of anxiety and worry. When an anxious child knows what's going to happen, they are more likely to not become as frustrated or angry.
What not to do as a parent
Supporting a child with anger issues involves knowing what not to do as well:
Ignoring anger issues won't make them go away. Address the problem and offer non-judgmental guidance and support.
Punishing a child for their anger can make things worse. Instead, focus on helping them understand and manage their emotions in healthier ways.
If your child is having an anger outburst, stay calm. Your calmness can help them settle down faster.
Comparing your child's behaviour to that of others can make them feel worse and impact their self-esteem in the long term. Each child is unique, and their struggles should be addressed without comparisons.
Instead of criticizing your child's behavior, offer understanding and support. Let them know that you're there to help them through their challenges.
Remember that being a supportive parent isn't always easy. Children are still learning about feelings, and you're their guide. Show them ways to relax, talk about how they feel, and problem-solve without becoming angry and frustrated.
Keep in mind that your care and support have the power to help your child manage their anger effectively. Do not underestimate the impact your support can have.
Finally, if you feel that you may require further support for you and your child, consider contacting a mental health professional. You can contact us here