A 5 years old, dressed neatly and flawless, saying “please” and “thank you”. The kid is also helping with household shores, being polite, and smiling while cleaning her room. This kid has never been angry with others; nor questioned decisions. This is also not a typical kid. Most children are attentive, inquisitive, and express a wide range of emotions such as anger. Parents tend to get frustrated when children express anger and are not sure how to address it. Here are 5 tips and facts about anger in children that could assist parents in helping their children manage and express their emotions:
- While children can experience a wide variety of emotions like any adult, many of them do not have the wide range of words or vocabulary to match what they are feeling. You could ask your child questions to inquire about what is she or he really feeling. Some children may not be angry, but frustrated, fearful, confused, and/or sad.
- Do not dismiss a child’s emotion. Emotions and anger are real even if a parent cannot understand the reason behind them. What seems “logical” or “typical” to an adult, could be experienced differently by a child who is starting to understand the world in his or her own way.
- Anger is a protective instinct. Anger originates in our brain and is design to assure our conservation as humans. Children’s brains are still developing; hence, they primarily use the instinctive part of the brain since the rational part is not yet developed fully.
- Anger is not a bad emotion. Anger could become a problem if not regulated or utilized as a catharsis for violence. However, anger is necessary and useful to our bodies and minds.
- Children learn how to deal with anger by watching their parents. Model healthy communication and express yourself in an assertive way. Your children will mirror your behavior and repeat your words.
Remember to always use honest and open communication with your children. Doing so could help you understand what they are thinking and how they interpret the world around them. After all, Marshall Rosenberg’s words are true: “It’s never what people do that makes us angry; it’s what we tell ourselves about what they did”.