How to help a child control his anger?
Practical tips to help children control their anger and channel their anger well.
Tantrums, tantrums, whining and screaming. These are some of the ways in which the little ones of the house show us how angry they are and, sometimes, siblings, parents, grandparents and other adults, no matter how old we are, feel overwhelmed by the situation.
It is surprising to see how these little people, when they get angry, do it in a way that is not at all "small". There are children who show their anger by keeping quiet and simply ignoring us, but this is not usually the case. It is normal for them to scream, cry loudly and make it clear that they do not feel at ease.
In situations like this, it is not surprising that many people wonder how to help a child control his or her anger. how to help a child control his or her anger and, fortunately for them, today we are going to discover a few techniques to achieve it.
How to help a child to control his anger?
Everyone, even the calmest, gets angry sometime, and this is also applicable to the smallest of the house: children get angry, and not proportionally to their height. The reasons behind their tantrum can be very varied, such as not being bought an ice cream, being forced to go to school on a day they don't want to, not being allowed to watch TV a little longer...
Childhood anger can manifest itself in many different ways, all of them combining anger combining anger, irritability and resentment, just as it does in adulthood.just as it happens in adulthood. There are children who show their anger by keeping quiet, ignoring us or ignoring us, but others, the vast majority, are more "expressive": they shout, throw objects, break them or even hit and insult their parents, classmates and teachers. Anger is an emotion that, if not properly managed and controlled, can become very socially disruptive.
In and of itself, anger is like any other emotion. We should not think that, despite being unpleasant, it is a bad thing. Naturally we prefer to be happy and content rather than angry or sad, but our entire emotional repertoire is an evolutionary resource, a way for human beings to adapt to our environment, both natural and social.
Anger is an evolutionary resource that allows us to survive, to fight against a situation that we consider unfair. It is adaptive, as long as our response is proportional to the threat we face.
Anger is a normal part of child development, reflecting the child's efforts in his search for autonomy, understanding and attention.. This emotion manifests itself most strongly at various stages of development, especially between the ages of 2 and 4 years, pre-adolescence and adolescence. As in adulthood, childhood anger occurs when the child has a subjective sense of being threatened or fearful of a future threat, not necessarily life-threatening but threatening to his or her physical, emotional, and social well-being.
Children feel threatened by more things than adults, in the sense that they perceive more elements as factors that put their personal well-being at risk. A fairly simple example to understand is when we don't buy them ice cream.
A child will see this situation as a real violation of his or her rights, while an adult, at most, is going to feel slightly annoyed. Fortunately, As they grow up, they will learn to distinguish between situations that are seriously unfair and those that are not, as well as to better manage their emotions..
Anger is not an easy emotion to manage in childhood, and the younger the child, the worse it is. Naturally, not all children are equally irascible nor do they have to behave in the same way when they feel angry, but the methods we can use for all of them are the same, although some may be better for some children than others.
1. Keep calm
It is very difficult for our child to learn to control his anger if we, the adults, are not able to control ourselves.. We must set an example, especially when the child gets angry. We should not shout, slam doors and, much less, shake the child. In order for the child to learn to manage his anger, he must see how we, the adults, have managed to do it and that, therefore, it is something that can be learned.
If our response to the child's anger is aggressive, his anger will increase even more. If we yell, our child will imitate us and yell louder. It is difficult to control ourselves in these situations, but as parents we must make an effort to have good results.
2. Teach him/her to recognize this emotion
The younger the child is, the more difficult it is to calm him/her down in a fit of anger. Being so angry it is difficult to make him come to his senses. Sooner or later the tantrum will pass, and it will be time to talk about what happened. The child, especially if very young, may have difficulty recognizing what happened, may have difficulty recognizing his or her emotions.For this reason, adults should tell him that the emotion he has felt is called anger, asking him why he has reacted this way and how he feels once he has calmed down.
We must help him to identify the cause of his anger. It is common that children often do not know why they have become angry, while on other occasions it may be because a classmate has insulted them or hit them, or because something serious has happened in their environment. That is why, far from punishing them or reproaching them for what they have done, we must find out why they have felt this way and see to what extent it is in our hands to solve the problematic situation. As parents we must always support him.
3. Teach the child to act without anger
It is common for children to behave in an angry manner because they lack the skills to solve what has frustrated them in a more peaceful way. We, as adults, we may see what has made them feel this way as something easy to fix, but that's because we have extensive experience and knowledge of the world, whereas a child, say, only three years old, does not.But that's because we have extensive experience and knowledge of the world, whereas a child of, say, only three years old, does not.
Therefore, once we know what has caused them to feel this way, we must offer guidelines to solve the problem in question. As part of their growth and learning, we must train them to learn to identify those factors that usually motivate their angry outbursts. Once we have seen what causes their frustration, we must help them find solutions for future situations.
The reason why the child feels frustrated can be very varied and, as parents, we will hear all kinds of problems. Once they have told us, we can give them the most appropriate answers for each situation, and have him compare how he felt after his anger attack and how he feels after having applied the advice we have given him. It will be a matter of time before he incorporates the peaceful responses we have offered into his behavioral repertoire.
4. Expressing emotions
Many ways of expressing anger in children tend to be socially disruptive, especially breaking things, name-calling and hitting. At their ages these behaviors, although neither desirable nor acceptable, are less serious than when an adult does it, of course, but it is still better not to express them.
If there is no way to make the child apply calmer solutions to episodes of frustration or when things do not go well, it may be that he/she has a lot of pent-up anger inside. In this case we should never leave aside to go to a child psychologistwho will try to find out what is the cause of so much contained anger. Likewise, we can make the child let off steam at home with really effective techniques, at least in the short term and as long as there is no psychopathology behind it.
If the child tends to behave in a very destructive way in a fit of anger, we can suggest some activities that will allow him to explore those emotions, as well as to express them in a more artistic and relaxing way. express them in a more artistic and relaxing way.. Among these activities we have drawing, writing, painting and listening to music, with which you can represent their emotionality, whatever the age of the child.
5. Release tensions
While painting, writing and drawing are techniques that we could consider "passive", ideal to make the child become aware of what he feels in a more artistic way, there are also more intense ways to release all the tension and calm the child.
Sport as a way to calm down is a classic.. Any activity is valid: swimming, cycling, athletics, contact sports, soccer, basketball... any activity is good for releasing pent-up anger, as well as providing psychological well-being thanks to the release of endorphins.
Surprising as it may seem, meditation techniques such as yoga or mindfulness are not at all advisable at this age. Children, especially the youngest ones, have not developed enough self-control to be able to calmly endure a whole session of these techniques. Before the class is over, the most likely thing that will have happened is that the child will have lost concentration and become impatient, becoming more nervous than before.
6. Developing self-control
Developing self-control is no easy task, especially when they are younger. Their prefrontal cortex of the brain is still very immature, so their executive abilities are not fully developed.. The idea of self-control is still a very abstract notion in early childhood, although this does not mean that we cannot incorporate it little by little. As his brain matures, he will be more capable of understanding this idea and, if we have taught it to him beforehand, he will assimilate it as soon as possible.
We can explain to him what self-control consists of, giving him as many examples as possible, such as not reacting badly if there is no ice cream left, or if the time to watch TV is over, or if he has to pick up his room.
A practical way for your child to learn the idea of self-control is to incorporate the famous incorporate the famous traffic light technique at home.. Basically, it consists of explaining to the child how it works using three pieces of cardboard of three different colors: red, yellow and green. When we show the red card it means that the child should stop because he is getting out of control, the yellow card indicates that he should analyze what is happening and why he is behaving this way, and the green card indicates that he should express what he is feeling.
What not to do
A fundamental idea that should be clear with anger is that it is a necessary emotion.
Showing anger in the face of an injustice is something adaptive, inherent to our social evolution, and penalizing this feeling when it appears in situations where it should be shown implies repressing the person, making it more difficult to manage this emotion. Anger appears for some reason, more or less justlyIt is a sign that something is wrong. We must solve what causes it, both in the child and in ourselves.
Unfortunately, many parents do not understand this. It is normal to feel angry in certain situations and, although children get angry for less serious things, we should not judge negatively the reason that has made them feel this way. It is true that it is true that sometimes they themselves do not know why they are angry, but the point is that there has been something that has made them angry.But the point is that there has been something that has made them that way.
Many times, with our behavior and our words we can make children feel worse, getting even angrier because they see that their parents, who should support them, reproach them for feeling this way.
Phrases like "stop crying", "you're so angry", "you cry like a baby", "it's not that bad, so behave yourself" and things like that are the last things we should say to a child in a fit of anger. It's not going to help him calm down, and it's also going to teach him that being upset is not valid. Sometimes what has made him angry is serious enough for him to be like this, and as parents we must pay attention and try to help him solve it, not hide it and pretend nothing has happened.
A tantrum should not be seen as an attack of egocentrism and demand for free attention.. When children have tantrums they are having a hard time. They do not feel comfortable because they do not know how to functionally manage a problematic situation.
This is why adults, whether parents, siblings or grandparents, must teach them to give peaceful and constructive responses when they are faced with something they do not like. It is also possible that, during a tantrum, the child may need an arm, something that we should give him or her to calm him or her down. Sometimes simple human contact is what calms the hottest anger attack.
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