As a resource for anger management classes. We often get requests for an anger management class for children. Most anger management curriculums and anger management courses are very cognitive and not appropriate for children under 13 years of age. There are several anger management techniques that can be used with young children who have anger management problems.
Model appropriate behavior
You are your childs first anger management expert. Your child learns by watching you. So be a positive influence by managing your anger appropriately. When working with a angry youth or adolescent I am always anxious to meet the parent. Some children have valid reasons to be angry based on their enviroment or the parenting style of the parent.
Don’t blame yourself
Many parents wonder, “What did I do wrong in raising my child?” Sometimes the answer is nothing. It may be easy for a parent to take the blame for their child’s actions or put the blame on the absent parent, the failing school system, or rap music. In reality, playing the blame game is not productive. The key is to find ways to help your child manage his or her anger.
Recognize the signs
Help your child recognize anger signs. Teach them to tune into their bodies. A rush of adrenaline, rapid heartbeat, tense muscles, sweaty palms, feeling warm are key signs of anger.
Why is my child so angry?
Children have not learned how to mask their feelings. Often what you see is what you get. There may be a varitey of reasons your child is acting aggressive including the following: conflict with another child, rejection by peers, bullying, not getting their way, being tired or hungry, sickness or sexual abuse. When you child is angry he or she is trying to tell you something, but may not have the words to express it.
It is important to help your children understand that anger is not all bad. You want to help them express their frustration and age appropriately. One way to do this is to help them increase their feeling vocabulary. Words like sad, sleepy, hungry, bored, afraid, jealous often better describe how a child may be feeling. Once they master these words they are able to share them with you verbally rahter than in aggresive manners.
Children also express themselves in play. Using action figures and dolls to role play with your child may reveal a great deal of informtion regarding your child’s emotions. Art is a great and safe way for children to express anger also.
By teaching your child anger management skills you help them develop greater self-esteem, problem solving skills and effective communication habits.
Shannon Munford MS is the owenr of Dayrbeak Counseling Service, a national anger mangement resource agency based in Los Angeles and Orange County. For more information visit http://www.daybreakservices.com or call 310-995-1202