Let’s face it. Kids can be very mean and deeply hurt one another. Sometimes when kids are mean, other kids fight back. Sometimes children’s only way of defending themselves turns physical and this can lead to a variety of other more serious problems as time goes on.
Children should learn that violence doesn’t lead to any type of solution except more pain, worry, and stress. If we can teach our children that violence is not the answer to their frustrations and provide them with the tools they need to express how they feel in a healthy manner, they will be much better off and remain safe.
Teach them Patience
Many times anger stems from impatience and boredom. Kids, (especially young kids) don’t understand the concept of time. When I say ‘I’ll be there in a minute’, to my little boy he doesn’t understand that and if he’s grumpy, he’ll start to have a fit. He then gets angry and screams, throws things and more.
As kids get older, and by the time they are going to school, they can understand the waiting game a little bit more. Teach them that sometimes we have to wait until doing something and that we all have to remain calm. The more you practice in lineups or waiting a few minutes before turning their favorite movie on, they will learn what patience is truly about and how important it is.
Give them Other Means for Expressing Themselves
This may sound like you are replacing violence with violence, but if your child directs his anger towards an inanimate object like a pillow it can be very helpful and release all the aggression they may feel. My son likes to wrestle with his oversized stuffed dog. If you find your child is lashing out at school or at their siblings, give them something else to punch. Teach them that it is ok to punch or scream into a pillow, but it is not acceptable to do any of that with another person.
Talk to them About the Mental Pain Behind Violence
While kids don’t usually grasp the idea of mental anguish, you can give them examples. Teach them that violence comes in the form of words, as well as physical contact. Ask them how they feel when one of their schoolmates calls them names or says something mean behind their back. Once they can put themselves in that place where they remember how it feels, teach them that violence is very similar, but even more painful.
Teach them to Be Honest About their Feelings
If kids can learn to express their feelings when they feel anger, the anger won’t come out in a damaging way. Parents can teach their children to sit down and talk about how they are feeling when they get upset or are upset at someone. Communication is very important when it comes to dealing with anger and failed communication is how violence begins in the first place.
What do you do when your child gets angry?