Children Who Get Angry About Everything
There are some children who seem to get angry at the drop of a hat. It's important that parents learn to provide these children with the care and attention they need.
When children get angry about anything and everything, it’s often a sign of hidden underlying problems. Therefore, it’s important to offer them special care and attention to help them deal with these issues. Today, we’ll take a closer look at this issue.
Anger is one of the 8 emotions that psychology considers to be basic among human beings. These include joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, disgust, and anger. This last emotion arises when someone is in disagreement with or is unsatisfied with a given situation.
When it comes to children, emotions take the lead, and little ones experience them with great intensity. There’s nothing wrong with children feeling the emotion of anger. However, problems arise when the behavior that this anger produces becomes harmful or generalized.
Children who get angry about everything
If we take a moment to pay careful attention, we can identify the cause of an angry action with the moments before. An unexpected response, an unmet need, a lack of attention or affection, jealousy, etc… These can all be triggers that set off an angry reaction in a child.
It’s very important to pay special attention to these cases. The reason is that continuous anger isn’t normal, nor is it healthy. As parents, it’s important we begin a process in which we analyze the child’s personal situation. Whether we do this alone or with a professional, it will help to detect aspects that may be producing these frustrated responses.
What can cause children to get angry all the time
There are several possible causes behind constant feelings of anger:
- A current stressful situation: The birth of a sibling, a divorce, the start of a new school year, academic pressure, etc.
- A situation involving continuous (and many times normalized) physical or psychological abuse. These experiences produce two responses in children: Learned defenselessness or attack. In the latter case, children externalize the anger that this abuse causes them. What’s more, they may come to generalize this response in the face of any other situation that they perceive as a threat.
- Situations of abuse or stress that the mother experienced during her pregnancy or early years of child-raising. These experiences produce an emotionally numb reaction in children and an automatic lack of trust. These children tend to lash out in the face of situations they perceive as hostile.
- A family pattern of frustration and anger. Children learn by imitating the examples of those around them. When family role models display angry and frustrated behavior, children learn to do the same. They then generalize these responses when they encounter situations that make them uncomfortable.
- Other factors.
For the well-being of these children, it’s extremely important for adults to discover the causes behind why they get angry. And of course, it’s key to then take action in order to modify the situation.
How to help children who get angry all the time
In order to intervene in these cases, the different environments involved in a child’s life must work together. These include, principally, the child’s family and school. Both must work together to coordinate a series of responses, or strategies, to accompany the child in resolving his or her problem. The main recommendations are:
- Taking on a calm and respectful attitude. Showing children, by example, a new alternative way to respond. Reacting with more anger will only reinforce the child’s initial angry response.
- Showing interest in the child, his or her emotions, and his or her interpretation of what’s going on. This allows us to get a better understanding of the behavior and may reveal the main causes behind it. What’s more, it helps us know how to effectively accompany the child
- Offer the child healthier and more respectful ways to react and encourage him or her to implement them. These include breathing and relaxation techniques, choosing objects that they can use to vent their anger, etc. You can also read stories that address the issue.
- Establish and communicate clear limits. It’s okay for children to express their anger, but it’s not okay to hurt others or destroy property.
- Boost children’s emotional self-awareness. When children manage to respond without getting angry, it’s important to reinforce this behavior. Encourage them to observe how they feel in comparison to when they feel angry.
- Observe what kinds of situations produce angry responses and do your best to avoid them. If they do occur, offer the child the alternatives you’ve agreed upon. Little by little, he or she will internalize the new responses.
- Encourage the child’s sense of empathy. In cases where children vent their anger by hurting others, teaching empathy is key. These children need to be able to understand how their anger makes others feel. For example, you can ask: “How do you think X feels now?” and “Does it make you feel good to see him/her that way?”
Intervening in cases where children get angry about everything is a crucial issue. It’s not only key when it comes to children’s ability to adapt to their environment… It also brings peace to family members, teachers, and classmates. What’s more, it helps to prevent bigger long-term problems that have to do with emotional and social inadaptability.
The right intervention provides children with healthy resources that help them manage their emotions. What’s more, it teaches them to find satisfactory ways to solve any problem that may come their way. When they encounter frustrations, anger will no longer be the automatic response, and their mental health will reap the benefits.