Like any other feelings such as happiness, feeling scared; Anger is a normal, healthy feeling and like any other feeling we must give the opportunity to express our kids his/ her anger. If we don’t do so and continue to stifle their anger, it may lead to an aggressive outburst, defiance or disrespect. Similarly, Anger is a temporary state and may not equate to a permanent state of aggression in their life where they may end up hurting someone physically or damaging property etc.
Having established that it’s alright for our kids to feel angry, let’s try to understand what makes them angry. For us, our young ones could be too young to think about control but believe me, as they continue to learn new things and develop new skills they also start developing the feeling of being in control or being independent. In their attempt to learn something new, they might fail numerous times, and all this may lead to frustration and anger in them. At times, anger can be their way to hide more vulnerable feelings such as low-esteem, feeling afraid or loneliness. So, how can we help them when they are feeling angry and teach them how to handle it in an appropriate manner.
Most important, we should help them in naming their feelings. If your kid is feeling angry, help him by verbalizing his feeling by saying “I can see that you are mad” or “It’s ok to feel angry but it’s not ok to throw away your toys.”
Best role-model for our children is their parent, they observe parents conduct and try to mimic it basis their understanding. So, if you want your child to handle anger in a socially appropriate manner, it’s of paramount importance that you demonstrate the right behavior in front of them. It takes a lifetime to control our anger so if you do end up behaving in a not-so-appropriate manner in front of them, don’t try to shove it under the carpet. Own up your conduct and apologize, it’s perfectly ok to tell them “I am sorry for yelling at you and I will not do so again.”
Another key aspect of anger management is our outlook towards it, we must view any such situation with the perspective to protect and nurture them and not with the intent to punish them. While we absolutely want to inculcate the acceptable behavior in our kids, we also want to ensure that we show them we accept their feelings. Against the popular belief, if you want your child to behave in a certain manner, instead of punishment having an open communication will increase your chances of him/ her demonstrating the acceptable behavior. At times, you may need to resort to educational punishment where you set-up some positive consequences (positive attention, praise for following the rules) or negative consequences (time-out, taking away a privilege for short duration) but you must not punish them physically.
Some of the common techniques to manage such situation are a) to move them away from the scene or person due to which your child is feeling angry b) divert their attention/ energy to something else c) approach them physically; sometimes a warm hug from you is all they need to come out of their angry state.
All of us kids, adult feel angry for something or else, it’s important for us as parents to teach our kids appropriate behavior to show their anger and how can they cope with it and help them develop into happy, disciplined adults.