Angry Reactions in Children and Teens
“Do you wonder why your child or teen seems on edge, unduly angry, and restless at times—or maybe all the time? Are you uncertain if and when you should be worried? Are you so busy that sometimes you dismiss these thoughts but later reconsider them? You may be noticing you have a frequently angry child or teen.” (Excerpt from The Busy Parent’s Guide to Managing Anger in Children and Teens: The Parental Intelligence Way.)
Signs of Excessive Anger in Children and Teens
- Raising his or her voice unnecessarily as if he or she expects not to be heard.
- Overreacting to a small disappointment with anger.
- Storming around, slamming doors, throwing things with minor provocations.
- Cursing uncontrollably frequently.
- Expressing deep resentments, vengefulness, and frequent arguments.
- Your youngster is unable to share, generally socialize, and participate in small groups.
How Parents Can Help Kids Cope with Excessive Anger
- Do not react with anger toward an angry child; remain calm.
- If your youngster is causing no physical harm to anyone or anything, step back and patiently let him blow off steam. Your calm will help him relax.
- After the outburst, invite your youngster to talk with you then or later, whenever they choose. Make a date to talk when it is convenient for both of you.
- At the appointed time, reassure your youngster that you are not there to blame or criticize, but just to listen and understand.
- Ask your son or daughter if they feel they are angry too often. Then nonjudgmentally ask them to share their thoughts with you. Do not interrupt them with your ideas. Instead patiently listen and even ask for them to tell you more.
- Help your child consider their triggers for angry reactions. Remember not to intercede with your points of view at first.
- Ask your child if there are other ways they might react. Try to help them come to their own ideas rather than finding yourself lecturing and finding fault. Be a sounding board instead.
- Ask your child or teen if they would like your suggestions on how to moderate their anger so they can express their needs and be heard?
- Explain that you are available to guide them to their own solutions to what triggers their anger.
- Generally become more available to just hang out with your child or teen so you get the chance to learn what is on their minds in daily conversations.
These suggestions will build your child/teen relationship so they learn that you are a good sounding board for their anger and want to listen empathically not judge and find fault. Building this bond of trust is the key to weathering storms of anger. If angry episodes persist, suggest professional counseling to have a regular time to visit with a psychotherapist to discuss their feelings about school, home, and socializing.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author of The Busy Parent’s Guide to Managing Anger in Children and Teens: The Parental Intelligence Way to be released August 1 and Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Visit her website for additional guidance: lauriehollmanphd.com.