Do You REALLY Know Why Your Child Is Angry?

How do you react to a child’s anger?  Maybe you get mad yourself or you try to ignore the whole nasty episode?  Perhaps you put it in the box labelled ‘bad behavior’ and you are already thinking of what may be an appropriate punishment.

No bad kids, just mad kids
‘There are no bad kids, just mad kids’ is a telling remark made by a well known child psychologist and that focuses our attention on the fact that we need to change our tactics a little bit.
WHY is he angry?

WHY is he angry?

Why are the kids mad? What is the reason?  Is there an underlying emotion of which anger is just the tip of the iceberg?  These are the thoughts that should be going through our minds when confronted with an explosion of anger.

Finding out why he or she is angry
When things are a little calmer, you can try to repeat back the words to the child in a very calm, almost curious tone of voice as if you are seeking to investigate or empathize in a very supportive way.

That immediately changes the whole scenario and the child realizes that somebody is there to lend a helping hand or even listen. Now that is progress!

Compare that to yelling back, slamming a door or two and the child ending up in a very long and stubborn sulk!  When that happens, the anger is stored and nothing is resolved.

Another technique is to ask later on what on earth happened and if the child can let you in on what actually caused the eruption.

Empathizing and communicating
This is where communication can start and you can broach various subjects related to what the child tells you:-
  • aggression and violence are unacceptable in your family set up.
  • there are lots of ways of reacting to anger
  • tell the child how YOU deal with anger – give real examples
  • tell the child about counting to ten and taking a deep breath
  • recount how you can walk away from an angry scene
  • talk about doing some physical activity to get rid of all that pent up anger, such as exercise or beating a carpet to get rid of dust or tearing up old newspapers.
  • tell him how you felt at the various stages of the anger explosion.
  • talk about self-control
With younger children storytelling can be very effective

Tell a story and talk about the reactions of the characters and the consequences of those actions. Talk about how anger can be controlled and how we can channel this strong emotion into much more socially acceptable ways. The link below is for a great story which teaches children about anger issues and other related problems. 


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