Know the feeling when your heart rate notches up a little and a little version of you appears on your left shoulder, only in red and with two demonic horns? If you could recall what it said, comments like “just give it to him”, “it’s clobbering time”, “ooh I’m gona blow your head off”, and the likes would be at the top. These are comments that pop up when you go through an emotion called anger. While you, being adults now must have learnt to control this emotion or behave sanely and keep things under the radar, know this that the feeling might entirely be a new one for your kids and they maybe having immense difficulty in dealing with this. Although they may not be able to communicate this to you verbally but the signs of them being angry will definitely show up in their actions. A little leniency or laidback behavior in dealing with kids’ anger issues will not only encourage this pattern of behavior, but will transform into a much worse condition by the time they’re adults. It’s a sensitive issue, yes, but needs to be taken care of at the first sight of its manifestation. The following part of the article deals specifically with that: anger management for kids. Read on!
Anger Management for Kids
Identify & Understand
The first step in helping kids deal with anger is by making them understand what anger is and how it can affect them in the long run if not channeled or controlled properly. Identifying the signs that say that the kid has started to get all worked up and then explaining it to the kid can help him/her stay out of trouble. Although each child displays his/her emotions in different ways, when angry; red flushed cheeks, clenched fists, fast beating heart, dry mouth, and rapid breathing are few of the common but sure shot signs of anger. The trick is to understand what ticks this reaction and then explaining it to him/her.
Remove the Cues
The tantrums and the angry fits don’t happen by themselves, something triggers them off. What ticks off the emotions of your kid is what you need to find out. It can be anything from a violent videogame to the bully at school, from watching his/her parents fight or argue to being unhappy at the football team. After recognizing the root cause of it, change the setting to a more serene atmosphere that doesn’t get your kid gnashing. If it’s the violent videogame, change it to a more competitive and a sporting one; if it’s the bully, trying talking to the school head or the bully’s parents; if it’s you fighting, how about not doing in front of the kid. Just remove the cues that agitate your child to anger.
Teaching Anger Management Skills
The next step is to try teaching them with few anger management techniques that will enable the child to channel his/her anger in a proper way.
Ask him/her to draw or write about whatever’s making him/her angry on a piece of paper and tear it away after he/she’s done with it. The feeling of anger would gradually leave the premises of your child’s mind.
Another good way of channelizing the built-up anger is by talking to self; not by way of taking out the anger on himself/herself through abusing but through repeating a simple positive message to self like “I can handle this” or “I'll stay in control”.
Teach your child the 1 + 3 + 10 formula and ask him/her to use it every time the feeling of anger pops up. First, stop and say to self “be calm”; that’s 1. Take three deep breaths; that’s 3. And finally count to 10.
Time Out & Time In
Though you might have taught your kid about dealing with anger, fact of the matter is that, being a kid, he/she may sometimes find it rather difficult to control anger without physically displaying it first. If that’s the case, you as a parent need to step in immediately, put your foot down, and ask him/her to have a time out whereby he/she is removed from the social gathering and is asked to spend some quiet time in his/her room. At the same time, the kid can practice the anger management techniques mentioned above. The time outs (the angry moments) then need to be replaced with the time ins (the positive moments).
For best results, teach these anger management skills as early as possible.