Is it normal for my child to get angry?
Anger is an emotion that is healthy, normal and can be helpful in some situations as it lets us know that something is making us feel frustrated, scared or hurt. However, if the response to situations is aggressive and involves a child hurting others, hurting property or hurting themselves then further attention to look at reasons why this is happening and strategies to reduce it may be needed.
What can I do to help my child with their anger?
Anger or aggression response that is not expressed can build up and cause a “volcano” or major outburst that can be very powerful and hard for parents to see and manage. Therefore, it is helpful if parents can assist their children in the following ways:
– Controlling our own frustration towards our child when they are getting angry and seeking help if this is becoming difficult.
– Create firm and consistent boundaries for unacceptable and aggressive behaviour (low and firm but not loud voice at their level stating that it is not OK to act in this way).
– Provide the space for children to express the reasons why they are feeling angry and what may have caused it.
– Validate the feeling that they are having “I can see that he made you feel very frustrated/annoyed” rather than dismissing their feelings which may make them feel misunderstood
– Noticing when they are starting to get angry and assist with activities that might help them to calm down
– Learning what might trigger your child’s anger and looking for patterns to prevent this or change the situation (if possible)
– Praise children when they have handled a situation well
At Wellbeing Therapy Space, we work with yourself (parent/caregiver) and your child or with your child individually depending on their age, to assist with anger related issues.
How is anger addressed in counselling?
Below are a few examples of what we may do to address anger with children in counselling:
– Teach children what our bodies feel like when we are getting angry
– Calming techniques
– Skills to be able to ask for what we want and how to ask for it without getting angry when things don’t go to plan
– Problem solving skills
– Working with parent and child together to address the situations that create anger responses in addition to other therapeutic techniques specific to individual and family circumstances.
References: “A Volcano in my Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger” Whitehouse,E & Pudney.W New Society Publishers, 1996