April 2019 Edition
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Angry Children, Worried Parents | Sujatha Vijay

August 10, 2019 | 16:05 IST | Editorial |

DOORS SLAMMING. TEETH GRITTED. FEET STOMPING.”I HATE THIS”

It was like a switch. In a few seconds, my son transcended from calm and relaxed to raging anger. My jaw dropped to the pavement as I stood in the parking lot of my daughter’s daycare. Anger in children is not uncommon.
The anger just rolls from such a tiny body and leaves you feeling helpless. If you’re a parent, it is a certainty that you to deal with an angry child. Often, we end up in shouting matches with our kids or we freeze up not knowing what to do when an angry outburst occurs.
Anger is a normal emotion in kids and adults alike. But how we express and deal with our feelings of anger is the difference between living in relative peace and feeling like we are at our wits’ end.
Learning to manage angry children and teens is an ongoing process and an important skill to learn. The most important thing to remember is that children are amazing imitators, so be very cautious.
• Be a role model when you’re angry
• Don’t yell at or challenge your child when he’s angry
• Don’t try to reason with your child when he’s in the middle of a tantrum,
• Pay attention to your reactions
• Don’t get physical with your child
• Don’t give overly harsh punishments

As you work with your child, it is important to be patient. Keep in mind also that some children are born more likely to be irritable and easily angered. These symptoms usually appear at an early age. Yet, it is also important to remember that some children behave this way because they live in households in which they are exposed to models of poor anger management. The primary goal is to help children and adolescents express anger in an assertive rather than aggressive manner. This means they are neither pushy nor demanding, but learn to be respectful advocates for themselves. This also means that they learn to cope with, not simply suppress, their anger. Suppression is only a partially effective strategy. When angry feelings are suppressed they often emerge later on, usually in an excessive way in response to a minor event-related to earlier anger. So help your child solve the problem, not bury it.

-Sujatha Vijay

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