Like adults, young children experience angry feelings. Anger is a common emission in childhood — the tough part is learning how to handle anger without hurting others. Many adults have learned to ignore anger, or to express these feelings by hitting or yelling at someone. As a result, adults often deal with a child’s anger by demanding that he or she stop being angry. They might send a child to his or her room until the child can behave better or hit the child to drive the message home. The problem is that these strategies do not teach children appropriate ways to handle their anger.
When dealing with anger, the most important lesson adults can teach is the difference between feeling angry and acting out in anger. Children need to be told that everyone feels mad sometimes, but hitting and destroying things out of anger are not okay. Help children find acceptable ways to express and work through their anger. This gives them practice in solving problems. Good anger management skills help children handle tense situations without resorting to violence and they may pass along these skills to their own children.
Suggested ways to manage anger include doing something physical (playing with play dough); talking about the feelings (if not to an adult, maybe a pet!); and reading a story (find one that deals with anger). Helping children handle their anger appropriately is not always easy. But handling strong feelings is a crucial skill that may help children deal with problems as they get older.
For more tips on raising children, contact Diane at (912) 871-6130, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.ugaextension.com/bulloch.