While being a parent isn’t easy to begin with, parenting a child that has anger management issues makes it much trickier. While it’s not uncommon for children to struggle with anger management, it may become worse if they’re already diagnosed with other emotional or cognitive disorders such as ADHD.
As this progresses, you might find yourself having a shorter temper too and yelling at them more frequently. However, an article found that research shows yelling will only further trigger their physical and verbal aggression. Therefore, MindChamps Allied Care has put together some tips to counter this issue. However, it’s always better to visit an established child psychologist at a child therapy centre in Singapore, such as MindChamps Allied Care, to best assess your child’s needs.
1. Educate Them About Feelings
More often than not, children who aren’t able to accurately assess or verbalise their own emotions may resort to temper tantrums or general misbehaving to express their emotions.
To aid your child in identifying emotions, start by sharing simple feelings such as "sad," "happy," or "afraid." Label their emotions by saying, "You look like you feel angry now." Gradually, they'll learn to recognise their feelings. Often, the first step in anger management for children is to help them be aware that they feel angry before teaching them how to express it in an appropriate manner. Once they become accustomed to these emotions, you can progress to more complex feelings.
2. Make Them An Anger Thermometer
Anger thermometers are great in helping children understand how anger works and are a great anger management tool. Start by drawing a large thermometer, labelling either ends from “0” to “10”. In this case, “0” means no anger, while “10” means they’re about to explode. Additional details can be included such as examples of situations when they felt that way or what triggered them. Sit them down when they’re calm, before using this to help your child recognise their feelings of anger and how intense they are.
After that, coping strategies to manage the feelings of anger for your child can be incorporated into the thermometer’s various levels. For example, for level 6 of anger, parents could teach them to deal with their anger by taking deep breaths or counting to 10. On the other hand, teaching your child to take a time-out when they reach level 10 of anger could be key in preventing them from exploding in anger. As a result, the thermometer is crucial in teaching children how to cope with their frustration in reasonable ways at different levels of anger. Furthermore, this enables them to have something to fall upon when they are struggling to manage their emotions and learn how to react to their anger in the right manner. Over time, they will start to understand the connection between their anger and the thermometer, and they will be empowered to take the necessary steps to “cool down” when they realise they are angry.
3. Teach Them How To Calm Down
When they’re feeling angry, teach your child to engage in an anger management activity that helps to calm them down, such as painting, drawing or even watching television. Doing so helps to redirect your child’s energy to the activity, allowing their anger to gradually dissipate. Calming activities such as painting or drawing are especially suitable as they provide children with time to process their anger while expressing their emotions in a composed fashion through what they create. However, it’s important to remember that different activities suit different children, and you may need some trial and error. Identifying the right activity to help your child calm down allows them to take ownership over their anger, rather than them spiralling out of control and engaging in destructive behaviour like breaking or throwing things.
4. Don’t Give In To Tantrums
An essential point for anger management for children, it’s imperative that you don’t give in to your child’s temper tantrum, no matter how bad it becomes. Doing so reaffirms the notion that throwing tantrums gets your attention, and gets them what they want.
While it may be tempting the first few instances, over time it would almost certainly fall into a habit, and will exacerbate their behaviour and anger issues. Instead, stand your ground by ignoring the tantrum or take your child to a quiet space such as your car for a time-out to calm down if you are outside. When they cooled off, have honest talks with them about how they can express what they want in the right way so that they feel heard that their needs will be met. In instances when they manage their emotions well, be sure to praise and reward them. Reinforcing proper ways to handle their feelings further highlights the ineffectiveness of temper tantrums and encourages them to manage their anger suitably.
5. Discipline With Consequences
Being consistent with disciplining your child is vital as it reminds your child that tantrums and rude behaviour are not acceptable.
When they lash out, show them there are consequences by taking away their favourite toys, or limiting their television or iPad time. These will go a long way in teaching them how to manage their anger and deal with their emotions in a suitable way on similar occasions in the future. Moreover, it helps them associate losing their temper as a negative action they should avoid because it leads them to lose certain privileges.
6. Direct Them To Appropriate Media
Violent forms of media may not only increase the amount of outbursts, but may also result in more physical tantrums too.
If you feel this may be an issue, limit the amount of television time they have, or put restrictions on your channels for your child. Direct them to media that model healthy conflict resolution and anger management skills.
Book An Appointment With MindChamps’ Child Psychologist
While these tips are helpful in equipping your child to have better anger management, the best way to identify the root causes of your child’s anger issues is to get in touch with a trained child psychologist in Singapore. To find out more, take a look at our other blogs, or book an appointment today!