About This Module
Welcome to our module on anger management for children. Dealing with an angry child is a tough part of the parenting role. Anger is an emotion that we all feel and is a completely normal and healthy emotion to have. As parents, it’s important that we teach our children how to manage their emotion of anger in a positive way.
In this module, you are going to teach your child to manage their anger which involves some anger management activities for kids. It’s important your child doesn’t bottle their anger up or let it get out of control. Feeling angry is healthy. Your child needs to know what are acceptable and unacceptable behaviours when they get angry.
You will look at how to deal with an angry child and how your child reacts when they are angry and help them learn to choose suitable alternatives when needed.
What You'll Learn
Teach your child to cope with their anger in a positive way.
To eliminate any inappropriate behaviours caused by anger such as hitting, biting, shouting at people, swearing or bottling it up.
Teach your child positive coping strategies they can put in place at each of the four stages of anger.
To teach your child a healthy long-term way of dealing with their anger.
Psychology Fun Facts
Why is my child so angry?
Anger is an everyday emotion. Everyone becomes angry at times. The question is how we react, how strongly we react and whether we act in an appropriate way when we are angry.
Anger management for kids
Anger can be a positive emotion. It can energise, motivate and be a source of great drive when properly channelled.
Anger is only destructive when it’s out of control or not properly managed.
During the mid-childhood years, children can understand their emotions in three degrees of intensity. For example, if a child feels angry, they can learn to differentiate how angry they are. E.g. A bit annoyed, angry or very angry.
As parents, it’s important to help children find words to explain how strongly they feel their emotions.
When processing anger, psychologists have identified we go through four key stages. We go through these stages in a matter of seconds. Think of these as child anger issues symptoms to help ‘diagnose’ which stage of anger they are at.
Parents can help their child to manage their anger by teaching them the skill of how they can intervene at any of these 4 stages when they get angry. Helping your child to keep their anger under control.
First Stage – Trigger
The first stage of anger is the trigger. A trigger is whatever sparks anger in your child. Every child has their own set of triggers that change over time as they mature. What makes one child angry, may not make another child angry.
A trigger can be something external or an internal thought or interpretation.
Some common examples of external triggers are:
- Another child took the toy I was playing with.
- Losing a game or sport.
- Being told to turn the TV off.
- Favourite team loses a football match.
- Can’t finish a puzzle.
Some common examples of internal triggers are:
- He took my toy because he doesn’t like me.
- My team is hopeless.
- Mum’s being so unfair.
Second Stage – What is the emotional reaction?
The next stage of anger is the emotional reaction caused by the trigger. How intense is the feeling of anger?
Children at this age can be encouraged to describe their intensity of feeling in three levels. A little annoyed, angry or really angry.
It’s important children learn which level of anger is appropriate to certain situations. E.g Feeling a little annoyed when the TV was turned off – appropriate. Versus hitting and shouting – inappropriate.
Stage Three – What does your child attribute the cause of their anger to?
How did your child interpret or link the trigger and their emotion to it? This is where your child has a choice as to how they will react by choosing an attribution that is matched to the situation. This is where many children go wrong.
As a parent, you can coach your child the choices and attributions they can make at this stage.
For example, someone breaks your child’s toy. You can either say to your child “It was just an accident”. Or, “That was very naughty of your friend to deliberately break that toy, wasn’t it?”
Stage Four – What action did your child choose to take?
Sometimes things simply make us feel angry enough that we want to act upon it. Therefore, it’s important to teach children that they have a choice about how to respond to their feelings, and not be driven by emotions. You can teach your child what are the acceptable and unacceptable ways to react when they are angry.
Anger issues in children
Anger is normal and it’s important to teach children to positively manage it in a controlled way.
If your child gets angry less than three times in a one week period and successfully self-manage their anger, WeParent believe they have a healthy relationship with anger.
If a child is never allowed to show any signs of anger, this can hinder their emotional development.
Anger is an everyday emotion. When children become angry they either:
• Manage their anger through appropriate self-talk and calm down.
• Bottle up their anger by overly internalising, refusing to release it and brood.
• Vent their anger by shouting or yelling at someone.
• Release their anger physically by lashing out, hitting or breaking things.
WeParent Top Tip
Does my child bottle their anger up?
If your child is someone who bottles their anger up rather than acting out on it by hitting or shouting, remember they are still as angry as another child who does act out on it. It’s very important to help them verbalise their emotions and form positive attributions. So, even though you aren’t necessarily having anger outbursts at home, bottling up anger is not healthy and your child still needs to be taught these important coping strategies.