Kids these days have to deal with a great deal of pressure. There’s the pressure to conform while satisfying the need to stand out, there’s the pressure to follow rules while wanting to be individual. Kids from divorced families go through a great deal of internalized guilt, pain and longing for the missing parent. All of these emotions tend to be too much for them to handle at their age. This makes them internalize these feelings and express them via anger. The anger is usually directed at others who are not responsible for the kids’ predicament. While the society cannot resolve these children’s issues, it’s your responsibility as parent to teach your children how to manage their anger in a positive and constructive manner.
If Your Child’s A Toddler
Toddlers throw huge temper tantrums in a bid to gain attention. You have to teach them while you love them and would love to indulge them, this kind of behavior is not acceptable.
1. You can teach the toddler that others won’t listen to a word they say unless they are able to say them calmly. Send your toddler to his or her room, and make them stand in a corner until they’re ready to talk to you calmly.
2. Refuse your toddler access to favorite toys or TV programs until they’ve calmed down. Let them understand that only when they’re calm will they be allowed their regular privileges.
3. Ask your toddler to apologize to you for throwing the tantrum. Explain that you get angry as well sometimes and if you threw tantrums as your toddler does, who’ll manage the house and who’ll get everything done?
4. Show your toddler that his or her anger makes you unhappy. This will teach your toddler that his or her emotions affect your feelings and the quality of your daily life.
If Your Child Is Older
If your child is older, perhaps a pre-teen or a young teen, anger issues can cause real disruption in your family. Your child could turn into a bully to get his or her satisfaction, break things around the home and give you a very tough time. It becomes a ‘who’s master here’ kind of show. Here’s what you can do:
1. Get your kid involved in a physical activity such as a sport, cleaning up the garden, de-weeding, shoveling snow, and so on. The physical activity will calm your kid and help him or her to deal better with turbulent emotions. Physical activity will also give rise to endorphins, the positive feel good hormone, which will neutralize the negative effects of anger and help cheer up your youngster.
2. Get your kid into an anger management group therapy session. In a group therapy, your kid will realize that he or she is not alone when it comes to anger related issues. These sessions are conducted by qualified people who’ll teach your kids how to cope with their harmful feelings in an age appropriate manner.
3. Lead by example. Kids emulate their parent’s behavior, either knowingly or unknowingly. Control your anger, your reactions and learn a few anger management skills yourself. When your kids see you dealing with your emotions calmly, they will try to emulate your calm attitude.
If Your Child Is An Older Adolescent
If your teenager’s anger management problems are out of control, it’s possible they get into fits of rage. Remember that teenagers also have to deal with physical and mental changes that are disturbing in themselves. Uncontrolled anger in a teen can produce disastrous results not just for your home but also for your society. They’re older, bigger, and more independent and you have to be very careful how you deal with an out of control angry teen.
1. Get a third party involved. It could be a grandparent, a favorite aunt, or someone outside the family for whom your teen nurses a soft spot. Whomever you pick should be a neutral person who will not take sides. This is important because in a teenager’s mind, a huge part of the issue is the parents.
2. Be supportive and understanding but never back down. Find different and alternate ways to communicate with your teenager. Tell your teen you love him or her but it’s unbearable to live with an unpredictable situation. Do not blame the kid’s anger issues as the root of your unrest. Explain that you’d like to see all of you as one happy family. Offer to meet your kid halfway. This attitude will help soften them slowly.
3. Try group therapy; kids of all ages respond more favorably to participating in a group of peers.
4. Get your kids involved in charity work at a young age. Expose your children to how the ‘other side’ lives. Take them along to homeless shelters on soup kitchen days. This will teach them that they really have no cause to complain.