Teaching Your Kids Anger Management Skills

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Anger may be a legitimate human emotion, but no parent wants to be on the receiving end of a temper tantrum from their kid. Teaching kids how to manage their emotions is part of a parent’s job. Even young children can learn how to deal with anger so that it doesn’t cause friction in the family or wind up hurting themselves or others. Here is all you need to know about Anger Management. 

Most kids need an outlet to express their feelings, be it anger, discouragement or grief. Rather than tolerating an explosive temper, you can teach your children how to express their angry feelings in non-aggressive ways. The following information gives greater insight into anger and how to help your kids manage this emotion in a constructive manner.

Different Forms of Anger

Depending on the situation and individual, anger can be displayed in a number of different ways. Some of the various forms of anger include:

  • Passive anger
  • Volatile anger
  • Chronic anger
  • Avoidant anger

People who display symptoms of chronic anger are angry almost all the time. They live life on the defensive and are constantly fighting with others to push across their point of view. Chronic anger can have a devastating effect on a person’s health and nerves, causing undue stress and tension. It can also tear a family apart, as parents and/or siblings are constantly bickering and fighting.

Volatile or explosive anger can cause physical, mental and emotional harm to everyone involved. When children or teens’ anger is not restrained, they can be dangerous to themselves and others. Volatile anger often results in some form of violence, such as hitting, kicking, biting, etc. Children may also resort to yelling, screaming or breaking valuable objects as part of their tantrum. A child or teen’s public display of volatile anger is not only an embarrassment for parents but poses a risk to anyone in the area.

Avoidant anger is when people keep anger pent up inside due to embarrassment or fear of expressing their true feelings. This type of anger can have serious consequences as the issues causing the anger never really get resolved. Pent up anger can lead to bitterness and resentment over time, causing further tension and stress in the family.

Passive anger is often expressed through sarcasm, rather than facing problems head on. Some people choose to ignore the problem altogether, pretending they are not angry at all. Passive anger can turn into acts of aggression if issues are not resolved. Admitting your true feelings is the first step to overcoming passive anger. Once this is done, people can find positive ways to communicate their feelings so issues can be worked out.

How to Deal with Anger Problems

Not all children or teens have problems with controlling their anger. Some children are simply born with calm personalities, making it easier for them to handle problems or negative situations that come their way. Other children are just the opposite. The slightest change of plans, adverse situation or problem causes them to explode in a fit of rage. As a parent, it’s important to get to know your child’s personality and temperament in order to help him deal with anger issues as they arise.

Anger management begins from the time your child is a tiny tot. Even toddlers can learn to control their temper if they are properly taught. By working with your child from the time he is small, he will get a head start in learning how to manage his emotions and behavior. As no two children are alike, parents may need to experiment with various anger management techniques before finding what works for their son or daughter. The ultimate goal of these techniques is to teach kids how to control anger so that it doesn’t wind up hurting them or others.

Anger Management Strategies

Anger strategies are as varied as the children and teens that need them. Parents who become familiar with these strategies will have an easier time helping their kids cope with anger problems and issues.

1. Talk about It

Older children are perfectly capable of talking about their situation and explaining the cause of their anger. By encouraging your kids to express their feelings verbally, they learn to work through their anger in a calm and collective manner. Explain to your kids that anger is a natural human emotion and that everyone gets angry at one time or another. Cite personal examples of anger in your own life and what helps you to handle your anger feelings in a positive way. Your kids need to know that it’s okay to have angry feelings, but not okay to express them in an aggressive manner.

2. Show Your Kids a Good Example

Children learn more from what they see than what they hear. If you want your kids to control their temper, you will need to set the example when it comes to handling anger issues in your own life. Take advantage of every day experiences in your life to show your kids how to handle frustrations in a cool and calm way. When you make mistakes (and you will), apologize for your explosive behavior and try again to settle the matter in a more appropriate manner.

3. Establish Rules for Expressing Anger

Establish rules for what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the home, to include handling frustration and anger. If you have older children or teens, get their input on these rules so they’ll be more inclined to abide by them. Such rules may include:

  • No yelling or hitting others
  • No name calling or disrespectful behavior
  • No door slamming or destroying personal or public property

These rules emphasize the importance of exuding respectful behavior in a home, even when someone is angry. By setting up anger rules, you teach your kids that angry feelings don’t justify hurtful or destructive behavior.

4. Time Out

When tempers flare, hurt feelings are sure to follow. Taking “time out” to cool off before speaking can help to avoid the backlash of dealing with hurtful comments and taunts. Time out may entail going out for a walk, listening to music, cleaning your room, playing with pets or any activity that helps your kids to settle down and relax. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break when you’re at the peak of frustration. Taking time to relax and cool down can help avoid a nasty scene and gives your kids time to consider how to peacefully resolve their conflict.

5. Praise the Good

Just as children need consequences for negative behavior, they also need rewards and praise for the good behavior they display. Learning how to deal with anger in a positive way deserves recognition and praise. By rewarding their good behavior, you provide incentive for them to continue honing their anger controlling skills. Young children, in particular, need lots of love and encouragement when learning how to handle anger in the right way. Your love and understanding can help alleviate your children’s fears when they make mistakes and encourage them to keep trying.

6. Focus on Solutions, Not the Problem

As a parent, you can teach your kids to look for solutions rather than focusing on the problem causing their anger. Identifying the problem is important, but even more important is recognizing that anger won’t resolve it. By getting your kids to come up with ideas on how to resolve problems that arise, they learn how to handle anger in a positive, productive way.

7. Forgive and Forget

No one wins when family or friends hold grudges against each other in anger. Negative feelings will only fester inside, leading to resentment later down the line. Help your kids to stay positive about the situation at hand, learn from it, forgive those who have angered them and move on.

How to Deal with Anger in a Relationship

As your children grow into adolescence, they will undoubtedly show a greater interest in developing personal relationships and dating. Dating opens up a whole new world of emotions such as jealousy which they will need to learn how to deal with. Although most teens lack maturity for a permanent relationship such as marriage, dating offers them many opportunities to mature mentally and emotionally as well as explore their sexuality.

Over time, your teens may face challenges in their personal relationships which cause them frustration and anger. Learning how to handle these emotions early on can save your teen a lot of grief and anxiety later down the line. Your teens may need your support and guidance in diffusing anger issues in their personal relationships so they can enjoy a more positive boyfriend/girlfriend experience. Teens can be emotionally high strung as it is, and even more so when relationships are involved.

If you’ve taught your teen how to manage his emotions from the time he was small, he will have a head start in handling anger in a relationship situation. If not, you may be in for some explosive encounters. But it’s never too late to help your teen work through issues with anger and hone his communication skills. Good communications is key to any fruitful relationship. Once your teen begins dating, he or she will discover how important communication skills can be.

Whether your teen’s boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is temporary or more firmly established, make sure he or she knows the importance of open, honest communications for working through relationship problems. Being able to communicate openly and honestly with his or her partner will enable your teen to effectively deal with issues that cause frustration and anger in a calm and collective manner.

A Lifelong Skill

Anger management is a skill that offers many long term benefits. Parents who teach their kids how to handle their anger constructively benefit from a more peaceful and happy household. Children who cannot control their tempers can wreak havoc on a household, causing division and harm. When tempers are kept under control, homes run more smoothly and with less friction. Although problems may still arise, they don’t disrupt the entire household nor result in hurt feelings or destructive behavior.

Many adults today suffer from marriage problems and difficulties in their job due to poor anger management skills. Some adults try to use anger and frustration as a way of getting what they want, regardless of the consequences. The results are often broken marriages and loss of career opportunities for the future.

Young people who learn anger management skills early on in their lives have a greater advantage in establishing more successful relationships and careers. They often grow into mature and well-adjusted adults who are capable of handling the responsibility of a family and profession. Anger management can make a marked difference in the quality of your children’s lives. By taking steps to teach and train your children this valuable skill, you empower them for the future.

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