Children and Anger: What Parents Need to Know
As adults, we are accustomed to getting angry at various times from different types of stimuli in our daily lives. We might be told we are not getting that promotion we have been working so hard on getting. We may have just found out someone we trusted deeply is not as trustworthy as we believed, and so on.
They are not familiar with responding to anger in an effective manner that does not hurt others. If you think back to your childhood, you may remember a temper tantrum or two or a time when you were just so upset you decided to take it out on your siblings or your toys.No matter the reason for our anger, as adults we have learned how to develop coping mechanisms, which could include talking to a counselor, using our anger management techniques we learned through an anger management class, and so on. Yet, when it comes to children, most are still learning how to cope and deal with different types of emotions.
It is important as parents to not equate anger with bad behaviour. Anger is its own emotion and how our children react, typically in a negative manner, should be viewed as the bad behaviour. It is normal for parents to punish the bad behaviour. Yet for the child, they can view being punished differently.
They may start to think getting angry is bad and can feel guilty if they attempt to express their anger in their own way. This can lead to other problems because they may feel like they have to “bottle up” their anger. One possible side-effect from not being able to release anger is aggression.
Children can become very aggressive towards each other, their parents and teachers if they have too much-suppressed anger. Although, we need to remember there is a difference between anger and aggression.
Anger is a short-term feeling that does go away when the child learns how to properly respond to this feeling. Aggression, on the other hand, is where the child had a deliberate purpose to intentionally destroy something or hurt another.
In addition, what many parents may not realize is for children the emotions experienced from sadness and anger are very similar. The goal parents should have is to help our children pinpoint what actually is wrong and whether they are really angry or sad.
Children should be encouraged to talk about their feelings openly. Additionally, it is beneficial for children to have a way to express anger in a constructive manner, such as screaming into a pillow.
Counselling can be beneficial for both parents and their children in learning how to respond to anger in a constructive manner. Parents can learn how to communicate with their child to find out why they are angry while children can learn how to respond to anger without behaving badly.
To learn more about helping your child express their anger in an acceptable manner, please feel free to contact Bayridge Counselling Centres at 905-319-1488 today!