Reacting to Anger – How Well Is Your Child Doing?

How do we deal with anger as adults? Surely, we are mature enough to avoid a violent verbal or physical reaction? Well, not always and we too have problems in self control. Then there is also the problem of carrying anger issues around as baggage for many years. One of the great sayings of Buddha was: ‘holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die’.1050_symptoms_emotional_mental_head

A child can react to anger issues in many different ways. This depends not only on his or her character but also on the situation they find themselves in. They may be afraid of the person who has caused the angry reaction. Before you can judge about how well your child is doing, let us look at some of the key features of anger management.

Anger will be shown in many different ways

There are many manifestations of anger:-

  • sulking
  • physically hitting possessions or furniture
  • excluding the person responsible for causing the row
  • adopting avoidance strategies
  • talking about the problem to a parent or teacher
  • refusing to mention the problem and harbour anger and fear.

Teaching children how to deal with anger.

First, teachers and parents have to remember that children will need several reminders that aggression is inappropriate. This will happen a few times and it may be necessary to repeat the warning or activity to drive the point home.

Secondly, talking about such a strong emotion as anger will depend very much on how the child has been taught to express feelings verbally. There are some families where this never or rarely happens. This will determine the success or failure of trying to help the child to talk about how he or she feels when angry.

Thirdly, parents and teachers need to provide models where they clearly demonstrate or talk about their ways of coping with anger and frustration. Children will copy role models. If there is aggression and verbal abuse on the part of the parents, it will be difficult to teach gentler and calmer ways of controlling this strong emotion.

Using stories to help children deal with anger

Telling stories or asking children to read stories about children or animals in angry situations can be very effective. We need to check that these books teach a responsible attitude towards anger and that aggression and violence are labelled as taboo.

Look out for books written about animals in amusing situations where they have to learn to control their feelings when taunted, teased and provoked by some of their fellow animals in the jungle. Younger children can easily relate to these scenarios.

So, how well is your child doing? Bear in mind the above points and try to encourage your child to express his feelings verbally so that aggression will never be an option. Stories are one of the most effective ways of doing this.

Are you interested in reading a story for children with anger issues? Check out my blog, Problem Kids Blog for more details. Robert Locke has written on parenting and mental health issues for many years.

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