While anger can often be seen of as something that can be resolved within a civilized way, a lot of that line of thinking goes out the window when you are dealing not with angry adults, but with angry kids. In fact having to deal with a child’s anger is always somewhat of a mystery for adults, and almost always a huge drain on their energy. And when the kid that is angry is actually your own child, you need to be extra cautious with how to resolve their anger without making your relationship between them worse in the long term. This is the ultimate guide for helping children resolve their angry quickly and effectively!
Anger is not bad (in general)
If you’ve read our guides, you’ll know about this train of thought already. However, when we were all younger, we weren’t taught that anger is not a bad thing. More so, we were conditioned to believe that getting angry is something that we should be ashamed of, and something that we should feel guilty about, especially when getting angry out in public. However, this mentality is part of the reason children let bouts of anger become full-blown tantrums. When someone tells you that being angry is wrong, they are basically saying that you should not feel a certain way. Feeling restricted in how you should feel will only make someone even angrier!
So to start, when dealing with children who are angry, absolutely do not tell them to stop being angry. Or that everyone is watching and they are making a scene. Treat them with respect when they are angry and they will be a lot more responsive to you when you are trying to get to the root of their anger. And that honestly is half the battle right there.
Try to understand why they are angry
Something that is fairly obvious, but often goes unlooked as a parent is trying to decipher why someone is angry. Especially when children (especially younger ones) are so hard to communicate when they are yelling and screaming at the top of their lungs, figuring out what they are angry about, or at least having a good idea to start from, can help you get them to calm down by referencing whatever is possibly making them angry. For example, if the child was just recently left out on the playground by his friends, you can reasonably assume that he is feeling left out and lonely. Something that you can immediately say to him to calm him down in this case is to say that you are right there for him and not leaving his side.
Another example is if you see your child playing with a bunch of his friends, all of whom have some toy that they are playing with except for him. If he is clearly angry, you can infer that it is because he does not have the same toy as all of his friends do, and make it a point to steer the conversation in that direction. Small things like this help let the child know that you understand them, or at least are trying to. Most people don’t just get angry for the hell of it. They get angry to try and resolve something in their lives that is making them that way, and knowing that someone is there trying to help them get to the bottom of it is invaluable.
Resolve their anger, don’t punish them for it
Again, this is a common mentality that parents thrust upon their children, without realizing that it just makes it harder to deal with them when they are angry. When a child feels like they are only going to get in trouble for getting angry, they naturally get even angrier in part because that is actually something upsetting to them, but also because getting angrier let’s their parents know that trying to punish them will make things harder on them. In either case, having your child get even more upset complicates the ultimate goal which should be trying to resolve their anger.
If necessary ignore inappropriate behavior
If you employ this method, make sure that you aren’t ignoring the child altogether, but rather the behavior that is unwarranted and that you want your child to learn is inappropriate. Ignoring them when they start to raise their voice or attempt to kick and scream are common examples of things you should try to ignore. This leaves them with more controlled and reasonable dialogue as the only means to get your attention and subsequently resolve the reason for their anger.
Use a sense of touch with your own children
If it is your own child, a simple rub on the back or grasping of their shoulders to make intimate eye contact can do wonders for calming them down and expressing their anger in more clear terms to you. The idea here is simply to show the child that you care about the fact that they are upset and want to help them. Getting up close to someone naturally has the tendency to lower both of your voice and calm you both down, which is very important when dealing with a child who are typically much quicker to raise their voices than adults are.
Set a good example on how they should react to anger
Once you’ve figured out why the child is angry, it is important to show them how they should respond in such a situation. We may often forget that these kids are still young and not totally privy to how to respond to stressful situations, so by showing them how to respond to anger, they not only will know how to resolve (or at least manage) the anger that they are immediately facing, but also permanently learn how to deal with similar situations in the future.
Dealing with Anger is something that children need to develop
Lastly, something to always keep in mind when dealing with children who are angry, is that children are still discovering themselves and their emotions and may not fully know how to deal with the anger that they face. This is often why they end up screaming and throwing tantrums to get attention, because they feel like that is the easiest and best way to get someone to help them resolve their anger. However, our job as adults, and especially parents is to teach them effective ways to deal with their anger. Not only does this involve finding ways to effectively connect with your child and have them open up, but also ultimately showing them the right way to deal with various situations and set a good example for them to hopefully follow. Dealing with angry kids is not typically fun, but it is absolutely necessary, and hopefully our tips have shown you how to best go about doing so.