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Kids' Anger - Helping your Child Respond Rather than React

10 Jun

Anger isn’t a negative emotion. In fact, it’s a normal and natural one. It produces very real and measurable physical and chemical changes within our bodies – changes in breathing, faster beating of our hearts and skin changes. Hormones are released into the body as well, the same hormones that are active in the fight-or-flight response.

It is not anger itself that causes children to act aggressively or inappropriately. It’s their response to that anger that can cause this. If we’re not careful to help them manage the anger, children can simply fall into the habit of being angry. It becomes a comfortable place for them because they have not actually learned to deal with their anger. But you can help your child to manage anger and strong feelings easily.

In order to do so, we must help our own child become familiar with his personal anger triggers. Then we can discuss strategies such as counting before reacting, taking deep breaths and even spending some time thinking things out before reacting. Include talking it out constructively as a foundational strategy. Thus, we teach our children to respond to the feelings of anger rather than reacting too quickly to it and lashing out. It’s important to point out that once we allow our anger to take over, the primitive part of the brain is in charge – we can no longer think as clearly or rationally, so we must first help our kids learn to identify the feeling of anger coming on, by understanding the physical responses to the feeling of anger.  Once children are able to identify the rising feelings, they will be more effective at dealing with and diffusing the anger.

Another important aspect of anger management is modeling in your own home. Think for a moment how you, as a parent and example, react to anger? Do you deal with it calmly? Do you yell? Do you talk it out? Do you express how you’re feeling or bottle it up?  A child of course needs our verbal guidance but also we must model appropriate responses to anger ourselves.  

As a loving parent, bear in mind that anger often stems from expectations. Help your child take inventory of his or her own personal expectations of others and of herself and determine if any are unrealistic. We cannot stop disappointments of course, but we can help children better understand the potential for anger due to expectations not being met.

It really is easy to incorporate anger and emotional management tools into daily life. You can reinforce these tools through the Relaxed and In Control CD for Kids. The CD gives kids the opportunity to practice self control and uses guided imagery to walk them through the process of effectively managing anger and strong emotions. While the CD certainly stands alone in its capacity to teach, parental involvement and modeling emotional management techniques are vital. Gifting the CD to children you love or who need help with anger management will teach and reinforce the emotional management strategies and give children a chance to quietly visit their emotional reactions in a calm, centered space – a must have for kids these days. Through the use of the CD, your child will feel supported and more easily able to express the feelings that often make anger difficult for kids to deal with. They will truly learn the much needed skill of responding to anger rather than just reacting to it.    

Mellisa Dormoy

Mellisa Dormoy is a dedicated teacher and author with a focus on children’s self-esteem and happiness. You can feel her love for kids and her passion for what she does come through on each CD and program she creates and records. She has developed and taught many self improvement programs for both children and adults. She believes that the vocation of parenting allows us to evolve and experience life in a way nothing else can. "I am passionate about helping children to realize their full potential.

Mellisa is the founder of ShambalaKids and the creator of Shambala Self Esteem for Teens and Shambala Stress Management for Teens.