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Kids and Expressing Anger in a Healthy Manner

17 Sep 2014 – 02:09 PM EDT

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Everyone gets angry at one time or another, but what do you do when your child has a hard time expressing anger in a healthy manner? This is something that quite a few parents have an issue with as some parents don’t necessarily know how to express their own anger in a healthy way. Knowing how to express anger in a way where it doesn’t hurt other people or yourself can be an extremely beneficial tool.

Red faces, screaming, calling other kids bad names and clenched teeth will never get your child anywhere. Many children become bullies at school because they don’t know how to manage their anger. Whether you know how to express your anger in a healthy manner or not, here are some helpful tips that you can teach your child and also use yourself from time to time.

Be Aware of Anger Signs

If you can identify and recognize anger signs in your child you are way ahead of the game. When your child does something such as begin to look deeply upset, clenches his fists or begins to hit or throw things, you can stop the strong emotion of anger from turning into a full out meltdown by simply talking to them and acknowledging their anger.

Tell them you see they are clenching their fists. Ask them what they are angry about and how can you help. Just by acknowledging their anger you are validating their feelings. This usually calms a child down, giving them a chance to talk about things in a healthy and productive manner.

Take the Direct Approach

Kids respond well to honesty. The next time your child is gearing up for a big fight or frustrated, get them talking about any problems that may be the root of the anger symptom. Ask them about friends, crushes, school, how they feel at home and so forth. Try to get your child to open up while playing a board game or doing something fun at home like making cupcakes together.

Teach Your Child to Use New Words and to Talk About It

Give your child a new “feelings” vocabulary including words like upset, angry, nervous, anxious, sad, lonely, mad and frustrated. Most of the time kids express themselves in an unhealthy way because they just don’t have the proper vocabulary.

Teach them how to speak rather than yell, scream or hit when expressing anger. Ask them to sit down and to use the sentence, ‘I feel angry because_________’. Also, by asking your child questions such as, “It looks like you feel angry. Do you want to sit down and talk about it?” can be extremely helpful when it comes to expressing anger and making them feel as though they are being listened to and acknowledged.

The more tools your child has to express their anger in an healthy manner now, the higher the chance of them being able to calm themselves and deal with the uncomfortable emotions of anger as they grow older.