As a parent, you might have noticed that your child’s mood can shift with the wind. At such early stages, it’s very easy for them to suddenly become a hurricane of emotions. It’s their nature to have little outbursts, but it certainly is concerning when they show a lot of anger or frustration for even minor incidents.
Here are some things to keep in mind when your little one is feeling particularly angry or distraught:
- Firstly, rest assured. Anger is a normal emotion for all young children to experience.
- While anger can cause a great deal of stress for those around, such as you or siblings, it plays a positive role in human development.
- You as a parent play a critical role in the socialization process. You must remember to be mindful and model healthy and appropriate ways of expressing anger.
- You should take the opportunity to intervene when your child expresses anger. Ask them simple questions and try to reason with them.
- If children fight with siblings or friends over toys and push/hit to get their way, turn this negative situation into a positive learning experience.
- You can even role-play as a playmate and have children practice requesting to share toys.
- While the goal is to curb unacceptable behaviour like violence and tantrums, you should keep in mind, not to prevent the child from feeling anger at all. Anger is an important emotion that children should be allowed to feel.
- Saying 'use your words' to an angry child will encourage them to express his feelings rather than resort to physical means.
- You could also set up an incentive plan that provides small rewards for children who ask to take turns or share instead of punching or grabbing. This in the long run can help motivate children to work harder at turn-taking. It provides for good positive reinforcement.
- If you really feel that your child's angry outbursts are out of control, constant, violent and/or potentially dangerous, seeking outside help can be a wise decision for the well-being of your family.
- Once your child has calmed down, talk with him about what made them mad. Help them see all sides of the situation. Try to come up with a new option together, one that meets the needs of everyone in the situation.
- Reading books about characters dealing with anger can also help children understand that they are not alone in their feelings.
- Although many parents don't realise it, they provide role models for how their children deal with anger. If you as parents tend to scream at each other, say rude things, yell at people, or resort to violence, then be aware that your child is watching, observing and slowly absorbing this behaviour and learns to believe it is okay and acceptable.
- You as parents must first learn to manage your own anger and, on occasion, allow their children to see how anger is expressed appropriately. If children see their parents express anger without any abusive language, name-calling or physical violence, then they will learn to do the same.
- Parents can show children that they love someone and still disagree with them or get angry with them in a loving way. This is an invaluable lesson that can be taught to your children to make your family affair a more compatible one.