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Whether it’s the terrible twos or twelves, children of all ages can get angry from time to time. But what if that anger is more than just a passing emotion? If your child seems angry a lot, or you feel that their behaviour when they are angry is out of control, then you might worry that your child has an anger problem. Fortunately there are things you can do to deal with it and there is help available if you feel overwhelmed.
One of the most important things to remember, and to teach your child, is that anger is a normal healthy emotion. In many cases, anger is completely justified and can be a useful emotion. What you need to avoid is anger that results in a loss of control and anger that isn?t justified.
?Lack of Communication
Children get angry for the same reasons that adults do! Perhaps they feel that a situation is unfair, or they want something they cannot have. Maybe they feel unable to explain themselves in any other way. In fact, feeling unable to communicate is one of the main reasons why children display signs of anger; they are frustrated by the emotions they are feeling and unsure how else to communicate them. Your child doesn?t enjoy a tantrum; they don?t want to be angry. They just need help to deal with the feelings without losing control.
Teach your child to look for the warning signs that their anger might spill over. If they feel angry, let them know that they don?t have to have a tantrum, lash out physically or raise their voice. Instead, teach them coping strategies for dealing with the anger. This might mean allowing them to step out of the situation and sit calmly until the feeling passes, showing them how deep breaths can help to calm them down, teaching them to speak to a teacher or other responsible adult when they feel out of control, or helping them develop their communication skills so they can talk about how they feel and compromise to avoid conflict.
It might be helpful to arrange with a teacher or carer a strategy that will help your child deal with the anger issue. Together you can remove the child from situations where their anger threatens to overwhelm them and remind them of the strategies they have put in place to avoid an anger episode.
Rewarding good behaviour is always a winner. When you see your child trying to avoid losing their temper, step in and reward the behaviour right away. This will help them follow through with their attempt to manage the problem and it will give their confidence a real boost.
It is perfectly reasonable to discuss your child’s anger with the staff at their school, or with your family doctor. They can help you to decide if the anger problem is part of a deeper issue or behavioural problem or if it is just a phase. Either way, they can help you deal with the problem and if they deem it necessary, they can help you get your child assessed for your reassurance.