How to Act When Your Child is Angry
Temper tantrums are very dreaded moments for parents throughout the upbringing of their children. These are those fits of anger and anguish that can appear at any time: When we say no to something, when they’re sleepy but don’t want to go to sleep yet, or in the middle of the supermarket. Sometimes, the situation seems overwhelming and impossible to resolve, but there are some tips to keep in mind when your child is angry. In the following article, we’ll share some of them.
About your child’s anger and your own
It’s important to start looking at anger in a positive way, as it’s an expected and healthy emotion. It’s best to ask yourself what’s going on, instead of getting angry with your child. You need to recognize that they’re having a hard time expressing and managing their emotions and that you’re on their side in this adventure of learning to control themself.
When they’re younger, sometimes they can’t understand what’s happening to them and, therefore, are unable to solve it! Of course, no one can deny that sometimes it’s difficult not to collapse. Behind parenting, there are endless responsibilities and obligations: Home, work, and family, among others.
When that happens, try not to judge yourself, but ask yourself what prevented you from slowing down before. Try to exercise self-knowledge and explore your inner emotional states. This way, you’ll also know what’s upsetting you and it’ll be easier for you to think of a solution or a more appropriate coping strategy.
Discover these keys to help you act when your child is angry
Here are some keys to keep in mind if your child is angry.
1. Start by calming yourself down
Remember that, as an adult, you’re the child’s main role model. Therefore, it’s best to breathe and try to talk calmly. You can also use what you’re feeling as an opportunity to teach your child. For example, you can tell your child that you’re angry or that you feel your face is starting to turn red. In this way, through your emotions, you can help them identify their own.
2. Practice relaxation techniques with your child
One of the most common relaxation techniques is breathing. But you can also choose one depending on what’s good for your child. For example, when they’re angry, they can sing a song and avoid slamming the door or talking back.
3. Teach your child to identify situations that make them angry
You can help your child recognize those signs that anticipate what’s coming if they don’t slow down first. For example, if they know that feeling hungry makes them cranky, you can advise them not to go for so many hours without eating.
4. Help them find solutions
It’s important to help children think about how to solve their anger differently. Consider the following example: Your child’s angry because they can’t sleep over at their grandmother’s house. How can you act?
- Validate their feelings: “I understand that you want to stay over because it’s so much fun to play with Grandma”.
- Explain why: “She has her friend’s birthday tonight”.
- Brainstorm a solution together: “How about tonight we watch a movie at home and you can ask Grandma to invite you over another time?
5. Use stories or other educational resources
For example, through stories, children can identify with certain characters and empathize with them. This way, they can put themselves in the shoes of the protagonist of the story and reflect on how bad someone else may feel when they’re mistreated.
6. Ask them what they need
Making yourself available to your child is fundamental. For example, you can ask these questions: What can I do for you? What would make you feel better? In addition, a hug or hand-holding can help them slowly regain their calm and feel safe.
7. Avoid teasing
Imitating their crying or using derogatory phrases such as “you look like a baby” is harmful to little ones. You should also avoid threatening phrases such as “if you keep crying, I won’t love you anymore”.
Avoid idealizing and demonizing emotions
In our society, there are certain prejudices about emotions. Joy is expected and applauded, while sadness or anger is shunned. However, emotions have an adaptive aspect in people’s lives. They serve as tools to help process situations, enable self-awareness, and prepare for a response to certain events.
Putting a blindfold over your eyes to avoid feeling certain emotions prevents you from connecting with your whole self and even with your loved ones. It leads you to deny your feelings, which, even if you avoid them, will end up presenting themself in some way or another. Remember that the educational style you apply with your children also influences the way they see and live their life.
Think the same in regard to your children: Try to educate them with emotional diversity, from the complex and contradictory range of emotions: Feeling good and bad at the same time, feeling happy for others, but also feeling “little”. We must accept that there are emotions that make us feel and those that make us feel bad and transmit the same to our little ones. This will help to develop a healthier and stronger emotional intelligence.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- LÓPEZ CASSÀ, È., (2005). La educación emocional en la educación infantil. Revista Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 19(3),153-167.[fecha de Consulta 22 de Marzo de 2023]. ISSN: 0213-8646. Recuperado de: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=27411927009