Anger Management for Children

Anger management clearly needs to be a priority for raising our children.

Research from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute indicates that child behavior problems are omens of adult partner violence as are severe punishment (abuse) and childhood exposure to abusive relationships between adults.

Another study, completed in 2000, rated childhood tantrums and irritability for children born in 1970. However, the most remarkable information the study uncovered is that children who had been consistently angry in childhood were more likely to be unsatisfied with life at age 30.

The best anger management strategy for children is for you, as a parent, to be a good role model; to familiarize yourself with anger management tips, strategies, and techniques that both help you to cope with the stresses of modern day living as well as being anger management tools to share with your children.

Experts also suggest that to be most effective, anger management for children needs to be implemented before adolescence. Additionally, when a child learns to control his/her anger in pre-teen years, parents reap the benefit of a calmer environment during the child's adolescence!

Anger Management for Infants?
When my daughter was an infant, she frequently woke in a rage, stiffening her body and screaming uncontrollably. When she could stand, she actually threw herself from her crib. Our pediatrician suggested we put her on a blanket in the middle of the floor in a child-safe place and walk away.

One of the hardest things a parent has to do is walk away from a raging child, but it worked. Within just a few days, the rages stopped and our daughter was safe and happy! Her "floor" blanket became one of her favorite friends, which caused me to wonder if Peanuts' Linus had the same problem as an infant.

Unconditional Love - An Exquisite Anger Management Strategy for Children
A father in a supermarket displayed a beautiful expressions of unconditional love that taught bystanders a valuable lesson in anger management for children. His pre-school daughter fell to the floor kicking and screaming in every parent's nightmare, a full-blown in-store temper tantrum. The man scooped the child into his arms and held her to his chest, his strong arms crossed over her small frame as she continued to flail violently against him. He didn't say a word; he just held her close and in moments, the child was at peace. The strength of her father's love alone seemed to calm her.

Helping Children Learn Anger Management
It's important for parents to remember that their children spend just as much time learning about themselves as they do learning about the world around them. Although children need to know that anger is a natural, healthy emotion, they also need to learn that like other emotions - love, sadness, joy - anger needs to be expressed appropriately.

The steps in helping your children learn to manage their anger are the same as the steps for adults. Give them anger management tips for soothing their anger, help them find strategies to stay calm, and teach them techniques for constructively expressing their anger.

The first step in anger management for children is to help your children understand when anger begins. Alert them to the physical symptoms of mounting anger.

  • Anger makes you breathe faster.
  • Anger makes your face turn red.
  • Anger makes your muscles tense and your skin feel tight.

Anger Management Tips for Children

  1. Help children calm down and refocus. Take a deep breath and count to ten. If you're still angry, count further or count backwards from 10 to one.
  2. Give them alternatives to anger.
    • If a school assignment is too hard, don't get angry; get help from a parent or teacher.
    • Get a hug... or give one when you feel angry.
  3. Sometimes children can't put their anger into words. Give them some crayons and let them put it on paper. Draw a picture of why you're angry (or a picture of anger)
  4. Work off your child's anger
    • Treat your child to a pillow fight
    • Buy them a punch doll
    • Take them for a walk or bike ride (Don't let angry children ride through the streets alone!)
  5. Reward your child with your attention when they control their anger. Go outside and run around the house five times fast. We'll talk when you come back in!

Finally, tell your child that everyone (even you) gets angry. Part of being a good role model is letting your children know that you are susceptible to anger, too. Let your child know about a time when you were angry and anger management helped you successfully resolve the problem in a positive way.

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