Five hot tips for managing anger in kids
Does your child get angry if they don't get their own way?
Do they throw their racket on the ground if they are losing?
Do they stomp out of the room?
Here are five top tips for how to help them. I've taken them from Stedman Graham's book 'Identity' and adapted them for kids based on my own experience in my therapy practice.
1. Step back and look at the bigger picture. In the whole scheme of things just how important is this thing?
2. Invite them to step away from the situation and calm down in a quiet place where they can consider the effects of any actions. Simply moving away and taking a few deep breaths can really change their state.
3. Turn that anger into a positive energy by suggesting to them that they do something with it. "I'm wondering how you can use all that anger energy in a good way..."
4. Encourage them to talk it through, write about it, sing about it, express it rather than bottle it up or explode physically.
5. Consider other options. Instead of getting angry what could they do instead? If you always do what you've always done you'll always get what you've always got. Getting angry usually doesn't achieve anything so what different thing could they do?
Another thing to consider is - how do you get angry? Children learn from who they spend time with. They are modelling you and your partner. If you want your child to behave differently when they are angry you need to show them how to do this by doing it yourself when you get angry.
Using NLP sub modalities you could ask these questions:
- What colour is your anger? Can you make it lighter, turn it into your favourite colour?
- Does your anger have a sound? Can you turn down the volume? Make it quieter?
- Is it an animal? What animal is it? Can you stroke it, reassure it you are OK?
- Whereabouts is the anger? Can you push it further away?
Children have an amazing imagination, they can answer these questions and it deflects the energy and makes them turn the energy inwards to answer the questions by being curious.
Whatever you say or do, they feel angry and that's their reality right now. Probably in a few moments they will be fine, so giving children lots of attention for anger will just lead to them doing it more often. Listen to them, listen to their story and take one of the above tips that works best for them, remembering that what worked last week, may not work this week. Be loving, supportive and curious but do not match their anger. You are the adult, it's you who needs to suggest resources to help them by being calm.