Anger is a highly destructive emotion that can blind our better judgement and result in our making choices that are not highly advisable. This could mean that we get ourselves into trouble with employers, upset our partners and family, and even potentially get into physical fights resulting in our injury.
While we all have bouts of anger though, it is certainly more prevalent in some than in others, and a particular problem group is children who are prone to throwing ‘temper tantrums’ when they don’t get their own way and who are more likely to resort to physical violence if there is some kind of disagreement with their peers. Thus as a parent it is very important to be able to teach children how to control that anger and how to avoid such potentially destructive rage. This will benefit you immediately as it means you no longer have to deal with your children throwing themselves onto the floor screaming when you’re in public areas, and it will help them in the long term as it means your children grow up able to control their rage – getting into less trouble throughout their teens and being better able to fit into society in adulthood.
The question is though – how do you teach a child who doesn’t understand the importance of controlling their rage and who likely don’t have quite the same awareness or control of their own emotions as an adult would (hence the reason for their tantrums in the first place)?
The answer is to make the lessons simple to understand, and quickly effective. You need to show your children how it is possible to control their rage, or how they can use it more constructively in a way that is not too abstract. If you give them a simple procedure to follow it will hopefully work.
A Great Strategy for Kids
• Okay so here it is, the anger management strategy that you can teach children which is simple to grasp and which will work very quickly.
• First of all, make sure your child recognises when they are becoming angry and can recognise the symptoms. Spot your child’s rage boiling and tell them when it’s becoming a problem.
• Now tell them to calm down their breathing. This will work because it will slow down their heart rate and in turn make them a lot more relaxed.
• Tell them to close their eyes and count to ten. This prevents rash decisions, but it also helps them to remove themselves from the situation that is making them angry.
• Tell them if possible to completely remove themselves from the situation – if it’s a child at school making them angry then they should just walk away and go and do something else.
• Explain to them how most likely the situation making them angry doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. If they are worried about an affront to their reputation etc, tell them that the mature response is to let it slide.
• Lastly tell them to smile. Smiling helps them to calm down because of something called ‘biofeedback’. Here, as soon as you pull an expression, the brain releases hormones that make you feel that emotion – thus by smiling endorphins are released and your child will feel happier which makes it much harder to be angry. They could exaggerate this effect by thinking of something that also makes them smile such as their dog or their favourite television programme.