Helping Your Child Overcome Anger

Anger or frustration are not inherently wrong emotions.  Kids just don’t have the experience or the tools to always deal with them in the right way.  As parents, it’s our job to coach them through feelings of anger and help them process what’s going on.

As with any behavior you want to decrease or eliminate, it is good to spend some time observing and thinking about what is causing the reaction. Usually, it isn’t coming from nowhere; there is always a reason behind it. Sometimes the answers are obvious, like not getting what he/she wants – but sometimes it is not so obvious, especially as we go about our busy daily lives.

If you notice your young child getting angry here are some things you can do to help:

If they are old enough and have the language to understand and express themselves, ask them about it.  You can say things like: “I understand that not having that toy right now can feel tough.” Talk to them about it when they are calmed down, and try to talk to them as an equal.  Chances are, you may get some insight into what is indeed causing it.  For some kids (and some adults too) feeling like they are not in control can be a trigger of angry feelings.

Give them some tools or strategies for coping when they become angry.  This could be listening to some calming music, having a favorite stuffed animal to bond with, or finding a special place in your home for a self-imposed time out.

Most importantly, remember that you are a model for how your child will deal with feelings of anger.  Talk to them about times you have been angry and about how you dealt with those feelings acceptably.  We have a daily habit in our house of talking about something that was challenging for all of us.  I want my boys to see my husband, and I talk through things and get the sense that being frustrated is normal.  It’s what we do with those feelings that shape our experiences and turns a challenging moment into a learning experience or not.