Anger is one of the emotions which needs to be vented out. Being angry is quite common, but only in managing our anger and using it for a positive outcome is what Emotionally balanced people do. In the current pandemic situation, staying at home amidst this series of lockdowns is causing a lot of stress and people are showing their stress and frustration in the form of anger. As adults, we do have one or the other anger coping mechanism with us to channelize our anger properly. But what about the kids, most of them are still learning to label their emotions. When these big storms develop internally in them, they obviously get scared and worried. This blog discusses the fun and easier ways to teach how to manage and control anger in kids, or in other words, teach the effective “Anger Management Skills” to kids.
The second wave and its series of lockdowns have really taken their toll on my kid. He started going out to park and playdates only in February after being locked down in the house entire last year. We started spending a little time outside the house with friends and family members. But all this changed in a matter of just three months, and we are forced to stay back indoors once again under the new series of lockdowns. Though the kids started understanding the situation, they also started getting frustrated at the same time. People need to vent out this frustration in one way or the other. Otherwise, it will result in bigger and scarier storms inside one’s head. We just started experiencing the same.
Fast forward to the end of May, my child started showing signs of angry outbursts for no apparent reason at all. So, we needed to act fast, before this becomes a regular habit or causes any more adversities at home. Our earlier calming down strategies have stopped working as my child felt that they are not giving him any respite.
After careful observation and pondering, we realized the mistakes we made in choosing the tools to control the anger of my kid. My child is a very high energetic child and when things don’t go away, trying to sit in the calm down corner, using the sensory toys, or counting backward, didn’t help him as they are not able to reduce the flared up energy levels that got built up due to the angry outbursts.
Hence, we used this as another opportunity to teach the coping skills to control anger in my kid. Just being the rock and staying calm with a single message that “it’s your emotions and you need to manage them” had done the trick. The only thing the parents have to be cautious when using this technique is “not to let the child hurt himself or hurt others in the process“. Once the message was driven into my child’s brain that there could be other coping mechanisms also, we tried the following new tips.
Tips to manage and control the anger in Kids
- Pushing the wall or pulling a heavy chair: This would release the excess energy that got produced due to the angry outbursts.
- Walking around, moving into another room, or climbing the steps up and down: This movement would give him time to calm down.
- Punching a pillow: By closing the fist tightly and punching the pillow or the punching bag would release the excess energy.
- Doing some stretches: Once the boy has calmed down a little bit, then doing few basic stretches like dog pose, downward bends would ease them a lot
- Lastly, taking a few deep breaths and having a tight hug did wonder.
There are other techniques that can be used to control anger in kids. The lesson we learned is that all these coping tips and techniques need to be tailor-made based on the kid’s emotional maturity and his mentality. I am listing down a few sample tips, which can be used if required.
- Counting till 10 or till the highest number you can go till you calm down
- Taking deep breaths
- Singing your favorite rhymes or songs undertone, till your anger eases off
- Listening to music
- Walking/Jumping around till you smile
- Having the sensory toys to reduce the anxiety.
- Blowing bubbles or air
- Thinking about something they love most
As parents, we can give the above or a totally different set of calming down techniques to control the anger in our kids. But to do that diligently, we need to first understand our kid’s feelings, and then only we can deal with them.
Tips to help parents to address the outbursts in kids.
- Identify the reasons for the angry outbursts
Whenever our kids start showing the outbursts in public or in private, instead of dealing with the outbursts, taking a step back and observing them to identify the real reason for these outbursts will help us a lot in handling the child’s emotions
2. Focus on the way the outburst has ended up
Focussing on how the child ended his outburst will give us an indication as to from where these angry outbursts are originating. Is it because of the underlying fears to tackle a new situation, or is it their helplessness to complete their assignment/task, or is it due to the lack of understanding, etc?
3. Empathize with the child and talk to him about the real problems.
While talking to him post the outburst, use the positive reinforcements to address the root causes. That will slowly, but steadily change the identity of the child and help him to become an achiever and fighter.
4. Make the child a part of the team
If we want our child to become independent and handle these kinds of issues on their own in the future, then make him a part of the team and discussing the solutions along with him. This will not only develop a sense of control in the child, but later in the future, he would be able to take more responsibility for his own actions.
5. Encourage the child to come up with his own coping strategies.
Emotional management is really a huge task and at times even adults fail in this. So, when the child is taking tiny steps towards managing his own emotions, encourage him and equip him with all the necessary tips and language to deal with his emotions.
When we make the child the problem solver, half of his problems would be solved automatically. We as parents can only give the children a few tools and tips to control anger or manage any other emotion in them. But just imagine how the self-confidence levels in your child will grow when he is able to manage and control his own emotions.
Please feel free to comment, if you want me to add any more information on this topic or if you have any other different opinions to share.