Parents often struggle to deal effectively with their children’s anger. We either tend to respond by coddling them when they tantrum or shutting them down. Of course, neither response is effective and both responses tend to produce angrier more impulsive kids.
Of course, an important part of raising moral, loving, faithful kids is teaching our children to manage all of their emotional reactions in more godly, appropriate ways. In Parenting with Grace and Then Comes Baby, we offer a ton of strategies for dealing with tantrums and angry outburst in respectful and effective ways but here’s a great article from PsychCentral on how parents can teach their children how to manage anger appropriately. By all means go and read the whole thing, but here are some tips to get you started.
- helping him understand what triggers his anger
- teaching him about symptoms of being angry (such as feeling tense in his body, having a fast heartbeat, thinking about wanting to hit a sibling, etc.)
- teaching your child to make healthy and appropriate choices as soon as possible when he becomes angry (such as walking away, taking deep breathes, etc.)
- creating a tool box with your child of ways he can calm himself down
- identifying his strengths and building on them
- rearranging the environment and/or restructuring his daily schedule to better suit his true self (such as by placing less demands on him after school if your child would do better by having a break after school, although this does not mean to let him get out of responsibilities)
- modeling healthy responses to anger
- identifying what makes your child calm, happy, and feeling great and then put more of those things into his life (be sure to have him be involved in the process as much as possible as well as take on ownership and control of implementing these strategies)
- work on problem-solving skills
- practice stress-management skills together (such as doing exercise, getting enough sleep, learning progressive muscle relaxation, doing hobbies, etc.)
Anger, like all of our emotions, is a gift from God but we need to be taught how to use it. These tips can give parents some great ways to help their children express their anger in respectful and appropriate ways. When that happens, children feel heard, parents feel respected, and everybody wins!