It happens to the best of us. We get angry. Sometimes really angry. When a child gets mad, more times than not they react badly in the form of tantrums or violence. Here are some questions you might use to get to the bottom of that anger.
It happens to the best of us. We get angry. Sometimes really angry. When a child gets mad, more times than not, they react badly in the form of tantrums or violence. Here are some questions you might use to get to the bottom of that anger.
- “Can you help me understand what just happened?”
- “What can we do to help you manage your anger?”
- “Want to share with me what just happened?” (use drawing or dolls as helping tools)
- “Is someone being mean to you?”
- “Does it seem like some of the children don’t like you?”
- “Do you feel safe at school?”
Reflective Listening Skills:
- “What I hear you saying is…” (then repeat what they just said as best as you can)
- “If I’m getting this right, you’re saying…”
- “I think I can see where you’re coming from…”
- “I see what you mean”
- “I think I understand what you’re saying…”
Sometimes, a child may not be able to express what he or she is feeling at that moment. Encouraging words like the following may help him or her to feel better about the situation:
“I’m glad you told me this is happening. I’m sorry you got hurt and scared. I’m going to help you with this and we will figure something out together. You’re strong and smart, and I believe in you.”
Anger Management Exercises
Being angry is a normal human response. As such, it is very important to teach our children how to manage this emotion. Find a suitable time and try some of these exercises to help your child manage the anger.
1. Make a list – find out what his triggers are by having him list down 5 things that make him angry. Then, discuss with him what he can do to avoid these triggers. For example, if the trigger is a dispute over the TV or a toy, suggest that he can watch TV in another room or play with a different toy. Or if the trigger is his frustrations at having to do homework instead of play, suggest that he walk away from his homework for a few minutes and return when he is calmer.
2. Create a drawing – For some children, a picture is a thousand words. Drawing a picture of her anger or the cause of anger (i.e. the trigger) can help explain her frustrations and relieve the angry feelings she is harbouring inside her.
3. Breathe – Teach and practice with your child to take deep breaths and count to 10 when they are calm. When they flare up in anger, remind them to breathe and count to 10. This will help them to calm down, and manage the anger sufficiently to communicate with you what happened.
4. Work it off – Physical activity can sometimes help a child to manage the angry outburst. Have your child go for a run or a walk, even inside the house, will help him to release some of those pent-up emotions. Once he is calmer, sit him down and talk with him about his feelings and what he can do differently the next time.
5. Keep a Journal -If your child is mature enough (generally at 5 or 6 years old), you can ask your child to sit and pen down what is pushing her buttons. Tell her to be brutally honest in expressing her emotions on paper. Then sit down and discuss with her about the cause of her angry feelings and what are her options or how she can manage herself in similar situations. However, do be careful to respect her honesty, otherwise she is unlikely to share her feelings with you next time.
As with any emotions, learning how to manage and deal with anger takes practice and constant reminders. But it is an essential life-skill whose foundation is best laid when the child is young.
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