5 Tips to Help Your Child Manage Their Anger
Would you like to help your child deal with their anger but don’t know how? Does your child flip out for no apparent reason? Are you dealing with their aggressive behaviours towards their siblings or you? Do the teachers look confused when you mention their behaviour?
You are the mom, so you are the place of safety where your child feels able to be who they are. That doesn’t sound great when it means they keep in their emotions at school, then let it all out for you. Take it as a compliment, even though it doesn’t feel that way. After implementing the ideas in this post you will be able to help them deal with their anger so much better.
i've been there too
I have been in this position when my son was in school. We wouldn’t even make it home before he let it all out and I mean he didn’t hold back! Shouting, kicking, screaming throwing things etc. The heads would turn as people made their way past us. We weren’t going anywhere we had to wait it out. Smiling at them and watching he was safe, that’s all I could do at the time, I couldn’t stop it or talk him out of it, anything I said or did made it worse. I felt so helpless and rubbish I didn’t know what to do so I kept focusing on that smile for the passers, and my breathing, each one breath as a way to stop any tears that wanted to blurr my vision.
1. your reactions
Your child is always doing their best, yes even when their turning red and shrieking at the top of their voice. I know when that happens you will have your own feelings in the moment. Yet you already know the difference it can make when you react in a calm way or snap and shout back.
Shouting can feel automatic but its not. There is a part of you that is upset about the situation and that’s ok, that’s why you snap because nothing seems to be working! Its easy to think that being calm and loving when faced with these behaviours means that they are ok. This is a limiting belief and its not true. If you ever felt weak when you stayed calm or more powerful when you shouted your head off, there’s a belief you hold that is not helping you.
All of your child’s behaviours are reflections of how they feel, so you can be sure at this time they are not happy. They are dealing with something and their anger is a form of communication of that. This is a time when you can become another reason they feel like this way or you could be a consistent beacon of light and love for them, the one who loves them even at their worst.
BEING POWERFUL = BEING LOVING
You are more POWERFUL when you decide to be calm and loving, read that again because I want you to really get that. Its easy to slip into the playground mentality “they shouted at me I’ll shout at them” and it takes effort to decide on being loving but you’re here reading this so I know you can put that effort in. It will be worth it.
When you choose to be loving you are letting your child know that you are there, if there’s nothing else you can do in the moment you can do that. This needs to be more than a one off thing. Be consistent with this its not an instant cure.
Can you remember a time when you were at your worst where you felt so angry or so helpless when you acted in ways you wish you hadn’t? Think of how it felt and imagine you had someone there who you love and they were there telling you how bad you are for it. Now imagine that same situation with that person being understanding to you.
It. makes. all. the. difference.
WAIT FOR THE CALM
In the moment of their anger they can’t rationalise or think clearly, neither can you when your angry. Choosing to be loving helps you to see things clearer and think about what you want. To teach them a lesson for how they acted this time or to help them out of this way of reacting, it doesn’t feel good to them either.
Being loving isn’t passive. It is not saying that all their actions are ok, but it is a way to show them you are there for them. If they cross any boundaries such as hitting, breaking items etc Then you will deal with those behaviours but in a way that will make a difference, let me tell you screaming at them isn’t making that difference.
Wait until they are calm again when they can think better and understand what your saying, and talk to them calmly, to let them know however they feel is ok. From this place of calm, you can let them know that their actions have consequences, even discuss their actions and the boundaries you set.
2. building a bridge
A bridge between you and your child so you can connect and communicate better. By helping your child to open up about their feelings you will be able to understand much more, the funny thing is so will they.
First its important to help them identify what they are feeling, there isn’t just one angry there are the different levels of intensity. For your child to be able to let you know they first need to be aware themselves, you can help by teaching them the names of the feelings at the different levels.
This will be empowering for them to see how their feelings escalate and if they identify that they are beginning to feel those angry feelings, being aware will give them opportunity to do something different. Such as moving away from the situation, discuss how they feel while they can, or breathing to help change their state.
You can do this by discussing the feelings and even when they are beginning to feel angry and when they don’t want to talk, they can still point to where they are on a chart. Click to download your own Anger Stages Chart chart.
3. talk about emotions
To your child it may seem that their actions and feelings just happen to them, if they believe this limiting belief, they will feel powerless. They may identify as an angry kid or bad kid etc, this means they are thinking that their anger is who they are. You can help change this by talking about how all feelings are temporary. They come they go. Emotions are not who we are they are just a sign of how were thinking.
Anger doesn’t happen out of the blue; it doesn’t happen because of what’s going on outside and it doesn’t happen because of other people. If it was things or people that made you or your child angry it would also make everyone else angry too.
Its what you think about things that create how you feel.
The nature of anger is that it wants to stay with you, so it guides you to only see things to be angry about. In any situation there are many ways to see it. This is something you can remind your child of with normal daily activities.
Once this make sense to them, they will be able to see their role in how they feel. That its in their power.
4. meditation as a way to deal with anger
Meditation has many benefits for children. It can help them to recognise that feelings are separate from them. That they have a choice of whether to engage in that feeling or to do something else.
They will develop skills to become aware of their anger and realise that they can change from reacting to everything, to taking time to pause and consider their choice of actions.
Healthy Children.org* says “A number of studies in school settings show improved attention and behaviour. Some research has shown benefits for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, school performance, sleep, behaviour problems, and eating disorders.”
Meditation supports healthy development and helps with stress relief. To find out more about its benefits follow this link to my post My Child Worries a lot, What Good is Meditation? https://www.believeability.org.uk/elementor-928/
5. change their mind
Well that sounds crazy but could you really help them to change the neurons in their mind? As it is they have neuron pathways that fire up and lead to the same result – screaming, shouting, aggression, hitting etc. They have built this pathway through repetition of thoughts and behaviours. They have a story that they tell themselves and its focus is more to the side of what they can’t do, or what they do wrong, or horrid things people have said to them.
What if you could influence or inspire them to choose a different focus, a different way to think about things or a different way to think about themselves, how great would that be? Here are a few ways that you can give them this opportunity to literally change their minds.
- Positive affirmations – Begin the day with a lovely positive affirmation. This is something you can repeat in the mirror with the kids, or if they don’t want to play, let them hear you repeat it. You can choose from one of these or create your own. By repeating these each day, it will be accepted by the mind. There is great power in words especially when you say it to yourself. So, this is a way to make use of that power and swap the usual negative self-talk for something way better!
I control my feelings; they don’t control me.
I make positive choices for myself and have high hopes for the future.
I allow myself to acknowledge angry feelings without losing control.
- Positive attention – Whenever you spot your child doing something you like, (or even if its just not doing what you don’t like) give them specific praise for it, for instance if you notice them talking calmly to their sibling tell them. It doesn’t have to be over the top praise, it could simply be a comment that you like how they are able to talk nicely together. This may seem like nothing to you, but it could mean the world to them to have it acknowledged that they are not bad and you don’t only see when they do ‘bad’ things. Be persistent with this and see the results.
- Breathing – this is another great one, it will help your child to give themselves that time to pause before acting in anger. It will help you in the same way giving you that moment to choose to be loving even when its not the first choice.
MAKING IT AUTOMATIC
If you really want this to be easy to call on and remember in times of high emotion you need to practice when your calm. The more you repeat it throughout your day the more this becomes a part of you, a habit. Especially do it when things are not going your way and one day it will become an unconscious reaction that helps you. Also, the added bonus of you doing this is that you will be calmer and even more importantly you’ll be modelling this useful tool to your children.
It is also useful for them to do the same, practise so they can develop this wonderful habit, which once again shows them that their emotions are not automatic, they don’t happen to them and they always have a choice.
A final tip on how to help your child deal with anger
Ok I know there’s more than 5 there but I couldn’t help myself. Teaching your kids about their feelings and making time to talk about them is a super important part of being a mom. A part that often gets missed due to all the other things there are to help them with, keeping clean, eating healthily, their education, the list goes on.
I have a book out which will help you bring up the topic of emotions, it will help your kids to get an idea of their role in their happiness. To buy it now click the link. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Book-Happiness-Lisa-Davenport/dp/1071265024/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=my+little+book+of+happiness&qid=1605473068&sr=8-1