I have recently been doing some research on anger management, especially in children because my eight year old is seriously struggling with anger. He is overly emotional at times and struggles to control his emotional outbursts. Anyone with children will know that angry outbursts are common place, whether it’s over a toy they can’t find or a movie they want to watch. Sometimes their frustration is that, at this young age, they just do not enjoy being told what to do or how to do things. It could also come from their lack of ability to communicate effectively that can cause them to be frustrated. Whatever it may be, the fact is that angry outbursts can cause a great deal of stress and concern for parents too and can also aggravate us to a point of anger. How many people out there actually have any training in dealing with their anger? Not many of us have been taught how to even deal with our own anger issues and that can seriously cause this whole anger thing to become a self-feeding monster. The cycle needs to end somewhere and we as the adults need to do more to give our young people the tools they need in order to be able to deal with their emotions more effectively. It is no use shouting back at a child who is angry and it’s no use just sending them off to their room either. We as adults need to speak to them, get them to express themselves and allow them the opportunity to get their anger off their chest.
Here are five ways we can help.
It’s important that we communicate with our children. Get them to express what they are feeling, whether it’s through words or writing or even drawing a picture. We must give them the opportunity to let off steam just like we, as adults, need to let off steam every now and again. Children also want to be heard, and it’s vital that we give them that space – a space where they can be open and free to speak their minds and not feel judged in any way. If your child feels uncomfortable talking to you, don’t take it too personally. They may just be shy or afraid to be totally open with you so instead encourage them to talk to their teddy bear or the dog or if you believe, to God. You could even set your phone on the counter and record the conversation and leave the room completely. The most important thing is that you teach them to effectively communicate their feelings and express their emotions in a healthy and helpful way.
Getting out a punching bag is also a great way of helping your child get his emotions and anger out. I have given my son a pillow that he can punch whenever he gets angry. The other day he ripped a bunch of paper up into pieces. Other ways that could help are for them to focus on something they enjoy like drawing, or running or even doing push ups. It’s all just a way to help them refocus and to calm themselves and get their anger under control.
Affection is so important to children. Sometimes just a good old cuddle or a big bear hug can break the tension and reduce any stress. Punishment is necessary but so is affection and love. If you are constantly punishing your child without a good balance of love, your child with feel worthless and useless but if your child knows they are loved and that you are punishing them out of a place of love for them, they will receive your punishment in the light that it was meant and not see it as you just hating on them.
You must let your child know when they are doing a good job of dealing with their emotions and their anger. Positive affirmation works and helps the child feel loved.
Be an example
This is something we may all struggle with at times, but don’t let it get you down. We are all human and we all make mistakes, just keep on trying to be the best example you can be to your children. They do what you do and not what you say. Remember, not many of us were taught how to effectively deal with our emotions as children either, so we are all trying to be better and we are always learning. If you make mistakes, it’s important to apologise to your children and let them know that how you dealt with things was also wrong.
Here are a few verses that you and your children can read in order to get a deeper control over your anger issues:
- “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, hash words, and slander as will as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
- “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” – Proverbs 15:1
- “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” – James 1:19
- “Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper-it only leads to harm.” – Proverbs 37:8
- “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” – Ephesians 4:26-27
I hope this can help you become better at helping your child deal with their anger and I hope that as you practice these things more often, that you yourself will become better at dealing with your own emotions, especially when you are needing to be stronger emotionally when your child is feeling emotionally weak.
If this topic has spoken to you in any way, I encourage you to click on the pop-up window or the link below and get in touch.