Sometimes parents feel that children don’t have a right to express their anger or frustration and they’ll instead term it a tantrum. It’s important to realize though that tantrums are the juvenile way of releasing pressure. Whereas grownups might swear, yell, stomp feet and throw things – and come to think of it, that is a tantrum – children are rarely afforded the same opportunity without getting into trouble for their behavior.
For angry children, validation goes a long way to calming their behavior. Showing your child that you understand why she is upset and trying to resolve it with her demonstrates that you are on her side. As adults, we should be mature enough to not throw a tantrum in response – “Will you stop whining? I can’t stand it anymore.”
By allowing a child to think that you don’t care why she is creating such a fuss, all you do is encourage her to manipulate you into showing her attention. Over the long term, it is far better to handle each situation as it arises and resolve it fully as best, as calmly, as you can.
Pressure cooker feelings
We all know what when we feel stressed and overloaded with emotion, something’s got to give. Recognizing those signs in your child will help you to deal with the impending ‘explosion’. The best way to handle it is to stop what you are doing and focus on helping your child to cope with what she is experiencing.
Deep breathing can work
Standing or sitting with your child and asking them to take deep breaths in and out before explaining their grievance is a good way to do this. For starters, she has your attention and that’s the first half of the battle won. But a compromise must be reached and once she has calmed down, you will be able to discuss why she is upset and what can be done to allay her stress.
Don’t abandon your child
Staying with her means nipping the situation in the proverbial bud. Containing her anger and not letting it escalate, and then proceeding to work through it is far better than simply telling her to “stop it” or threatening her with taking toys away or turning off the TV.
Express anger appropriately
Our goal is not to suppress the angry feelings in the child but rather to help him to acknowledge and handle the anger appropriately. Hence, saying “I hate David” is highly emotive and solves nothing. Saying instead “I get really angry when David does …” provides clues as to what triggered the anger. Encourage your child to articulate the actual reason for the outburst instead of generalizing, which leads nowhere.
Model your own anger management techniques
Grownup tantrums only serve to encourage child tantrums. Children mimic what they observe so it will be no surprise if they start yelling, crying and throwing objects around. Modify your own behavior and you will set an excellent example for your children.
For a more complete guide on how to deal with your agressive child, check out Child Anger Revealed: How to Manage Your Child’s Anger Effectively.
Or click here to read our Child Anger Revealed review.