Many of us were taught as children that we were not “allowed” to be angry, and that anger with parents or caretakers showed great disrespect and selfishness.
These kinds of childhod beliefs make it more difficult for us to handle anger in children.
The first step toward better management of children’s anger is to set aside what we were taught, and instead teach something new.
Teach children that anger is normal, that it is acceptable and normal to get angry.
Often parents and children get locked into a contest of wills, and the parent wins with a “Because I Said So” argument.
Afterward, they doubt themselves as parents and feel guilty, ashamed, and inept.
In these cases, it’s not that the child really feels anger (or feels only anger), but rather that they know anger will provoke a change in the environment that may be a change for the better.
In children, however, anger appears to be a more generic emotion.
Dealing with a child’s anger requires first finding out what they feel.
Ask them what’s happened, what went wrong, or why they are feeling what they feel. On the other hand, they may need your help to label their feelings.
A parent might respond to a child who hits his brother by asking why he hit him.
Go beyond the “he did this first” argument and ask where they learned to hit to tell other people to stop doing something.