Everybody gets angry, but you can help your child take responsibility for heading off angry outbursts.
Start by asking your child what situations seem to make him angry. He might say:
- When I lose a game.
- When someone says something untrue about me.
- When my little brother uses my things.
- When I want to do something that I can’t.
Then brainstorm alternatives with your child about how to diffuse the emotions.
Ask, for example, “If you’re losing a game and you know that can make you angry, what might you do instead?”
One technique is to help think of a few phrases your child can repeat over and over until the anger subsides, such as, “It’s only a game,” or “I can stay cool about this.”
You should also help your child practice things he can say to others to avoid a situation where he’s likely to get angry.
He might say, for example, “I have to go home now,” or “I’m too mad to talk about this right now.”
Other suggestions to help a child control anger might include listening to music, running around the yard to wear off some energy, or writing a story about the situation.
With parents’ help, most children can learn to take responsibility for managing their anger before it gets out of hand.