Anger management is a hot topic. It seems everyone wants to know how to manage anger—especially parents of upset children. Too often we become angry when responding to their meltdowns—which doesn’t do anyone any good.
Try these tips for helping your children control their anger—so you don’t lose yours!
1. Be a good role model.
You can’t teach children how to handle their emotions when you don’t control yours. Learn how to properly manage your own anger before attempting to help your child.
2. Allow your child to be angry.
Anger is normal. So don’t try to shut your child down. Instead, help him learn to express his emotions by empathizing with him and validating his feelings. Say, “You seem angry,” instead of, “Why are you acting like that?”
Once he has felt the hurt, your child can get past it.
3. Set limits.
Do not let the situation get out of control. For example, if your son starts to hit you, respond by saying, “It’s okay to feel angry, but it’s not okay to hit me. Go jump up and down or hit your punching bag until you feel better. Then let’s talk about how you’re feeling.”
4. Try to get to the root of the anger.
Like adults, children react to situations around us. So if your child comes home from school upset, don’t scold him for being in a bad mood. Instead, try to understand the cause of the anger by saying, “You seem really upset today. Makes me think it wasn’t a very good day at school.”
5. Sit and be quiet.
When your child is upset, never tell him to calm down, go to his room, or take a time out. Angry feelings can be overwhelming for younger children, so this won’t help. Instead, quietly sit with him while he throws a tantrum, and say, “While you’re upset, I’m just going to sit here with you.” By doing so, you are conveying that you are not afraid of his strong emotions and can handle them. This approach shows children that they can learn to handle their emotions.