If your child is easily angered or is known for being hot-tempered, it can be quite challenging as parents to determine the best course of action on calming your child down. It’s natural for children – and adults – to get upset every now and then, but if your child is angry more often than not, it is important to tackle this issue immediately.
Where May the Anger Stem From?
Typically, a child doesn’t become easily angered for no reason. Usually, it starts from conditions at home or school (i.e. if your child is being bullied or teased). Sometimes, it can be a part of your child’s temperament, but this is not usually the case.
How to Minimize Outbursts
Determine the triggers. There are usually triggers that a parent can watch for when their child gets upset. It could be when your child is hungry or tired, if he or she is in an unfamiliar setting, in a loud environment, when being dropped off to school or picked up from school, when playing with friends or siblings, just to name a few. If your child’s trigger is playing with others and sharing, for example, it could be possible that your child may need more time learning about sharing with those he or she loves.
Lessen the triggers. Once you determine what your child’s triggers are, it will help so you can avoid trigger moments whenever possible. If your child has a hard time saying goodbye to you and being left in the care of a babysitter or being dropped off at school, he or she may need a few more minutes with you before you depart to make the transition easier.
Set rules and boundaries in place. Children do well with fair rules and a solid daily routine. Teach them to play nice and share, and to not hit or yell. When your child understands the rules you set in place, it gives a clear indication of when he or she is doing something they’re not supposed to be doing.
Don’t put down or discourage your child. Some parents fall into the “labeling” zone. This means that it can happen that the easily angered child can become known as “always angry.” When a child hears this repeatedly, he or she starts to believe this is who they are. It’s almost like they’re expected to be angry because that is what they hear so often. Instead, use positive reinforcement and loving words about your child, even when they’re being difficult. Possibly say, “I know you’re angry right now but I know that you can control your anger in a more healthy way. Lower your voice and speak kindly because you are kind.” Or something to this effect.
Reprimand in a healthy way. If your child refuses to calm down, place him or her in a timeout with no toys or fun until they have calmed down. Let your child know that temper tantrums are not acceptable.
Validate and encourage. When your child deals with an angering situation in a healthy and rational way, let him or her know you noticed how well the situation was handled and speak love and praise to your child. This will assist your child in wanting positive attention, not negative.
This process may take some time but it is worth it when your child learns to communicate his or her emotions more effectively. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance and help from other parents or a child counselor if the situation does not get better. A strong support system will help the entire family get the desired results.