The soap queen of television is famous for her temper displays, which include flinging mobile phones
and chairs. A Bollywood superstar chooses to display his anger by passing sarcastic digs at
Imagine if grown adults- more so in the spotlight or before television cameras- can display anger this
way then how the rest of us would show anger when the world isn’t watching!
What’s a bigger issue to consider- kids don’t have as much control as adults over their anger. And
this carries over onto their adult behavior.
Research from the Columbia University College in 2000, found that people were usually grouchy and
irritable as kids and also had more temper tantrums in their childhood were more likely to be
unsatisfied with life at age 30.
So one of the responsibilities of effective parenting is to teach anger management to your child.
Here are some things to help you get started:
1. Understand Anger: Anger is an emotion that has been vastly studied, so do read up about it.
The most important thing to know about anger is that feeling anger is not wrong but showing it inappropriately is wrong. We all feel negative emotions-anger, sadness, jealousy- and usually have no control over them. What we DO have control over is how we react to that anger.
This is a point for both parents and kids to understand. Also, children need to know that anger is a natural, healthy emotion and just like other emotions – love, sadness, joy – anger needs to be expressed appropriately.
2. Recognize anger signs and handle them: The popular saying that “one does not know what one does in anger” is actually pretty true.
During anger parts of brain actually get “hijacked” by the emotion. And during that time we can engage in all kinds of unhealthy behaviors- scream angry words, shoot off a nasty SMS, or break off a relationship. Research shows that it takes the body about 30 minutes to CALM down from such a state of anger.
So the best help you can give your child is t help them recognize the bodily signals of anger. Let your child know:
- Anger makes you breathe faster.
- Anger makes your face turn red.
- Anger makes your muscles tense and your skin feel tight.
Also, teach yourself as well as your children use a cool off period of about 30 to 45 minutes after an angry episode.
This can have magical benefits and can save you a lot of future regret and embarrassment that came from an immature reaction when you were angry.
3. Be a good role model yourself: Can you remember the last time you felt really, really angry? Maybe someone cheated on you, blamed you for something you didn’t do or one of your friends gossiped about you.
And how did you react? Perhaps by yelling or abusing, sulking, crying, or “getting back” at the person. Basically anything that made your anger “feel better”.
Unfortunately these things only aggravate the anger, although we don’t really realize it. What’s worse your child will be watching how you react and emulate you. So learn to control your reactions and apply all the rules learn here to yourself first!
4. Learn and Display Assertiveness:
Assertiveness is the key to healthy anger management. We either react to anger passively (by swallowing IN the anger) or aggressively (letting OUT the rage)
Assertiveness is the healthy BALANCE which means learning to expressing anger without making you or the opposite person feel bad.
Giving your child lessons in assertiveness include reminding them to be polite no matter how large the provocation, expressing anger without being sarcastic, finding a solution instead of flying into a rage, having calm body language and learning to speak facts rather than exaggerate issues.
5. Anger Alternatives:
Sometimes it’s just not possible to be able to DO something about the anger. So teach your child to refocus that energy elsewhere- into a sport, a jog up the stairs, a pillow fight. A great tip for parents is that when their child is really upset (even having a temper tantrum) just a tight hug can work wonders and help calm the child down. You can also help children calm down and refocus when they are angry. Saying things like “Take a deep breath and count to ten. If you’re still angry, count further or count backwards from 10 to one” usually helps younger kids focus.
A final word:
Experts suggest that to be most effective, anger management for children needs to be implemented before adolescence. Additionally, when a child learns to control his/her anger in pre-teen years, parents reap the benefit of a calmer environment during the child’s adolescence!
This post originally appeared in the RobinAge.