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Anger Management for Kids

Kundan Pandey Mar 10, 2020
Over the recent years, numerous studies have shown that kids today are a lot more angry, aggressive, and violent. With increasing stories of child rage leading to unbelievable and sensational crimes, there's a lot more to children's behavioral patterns than what meets the eye.
Unlike mass belief, anger management is equally essential in kids and adults alike. Most people are under the false presumption that anger in kids is a part and parcel of life.
As we all know, childhood is the phase of development; small but persistent seeds of early behavioral patterns will flourish in your child as he or she grows into an adult.
It can be extremely difficult for parents to deal with an angry child, especially one with a violent streak. Most parents get flabbergasted with a child's hostility and are taken aback; at times too hurt and disturbed to even deal with the situation aptly.
The important aspect here is to be patient; dealing with such kids needs heaps of attention and perseverance.
Like adults, children could have countless reasons to feel anger. However, the reason should be somewhat proportionate to the degree of emotion.

It's completely normal to be angry, it's even acceptable to be enraged and frustrated, but if your child turns spiteful and malevolent, it might be time to fix the situation.

Causes of Anger in Kids

Children, by and large, have difficulty expressing themselves. They're usually unable to name their emotions and concerns. As a result, their frustration from one aspect may creep into their overall behavior. Identifying the reason for your child's aggressive behavior is the first step towards handling the situation. More often than not, either of the following four reasons are the causative factors for anger in most children.

Biological Reasons

In a good few cases, it is noticed that the child has some physiological problem or distress that indirectly shapes his or her irrational behavior. This could include some unknown allergies, learning disorders, or a subtle physical ailment.

Following Your Footsteps

You may be a great parent, but if you have a temper that flails about at the drop of a hat, your child is most probably subconsciously imitating you. Remember, at some level, either one of the parents is a child's role model during the initial years. So every time you're yelling at someone over the phone or calling them names, your child's mind is registering that response as a way of reacting to a certain situation.

Frustration of Being Incapable

Despite the massive age gap, adults and children aren't so far apart in terms of emotions. Your incapability to achieve or accomplish something will disappoint and depress you, making you irritable and cranky. Likewise, if your child had a few outbursts initially, but off late the number has spiked up radically, then he or she might be experiencing similar emotions.

The Atmosphere at Home/School

A child's mind is easily molded. If the child's parents are getting divorced or there are constant arguments and fights at home, the child simply mirrors the behavior he observes.
In a similar manner, if his peers at school are aggressive, then his behavior is largely influenced by theirs.

Anger Management Techniques

Most anger management techniques for children are the same as those for adults. The important thing to remember here is that a child may not be able to imbibe these techniques by himself. Ideally, you should walk him or her through each technique during the first few instances.
Be prepared that he or she will take some (or a lot of) time to actually start applying these techniques. However, the advantage is that these techniques will be helpful for life. The child will learn better self-control and his or her temperament won't be a concern again; neither for you and nor for the child himself.


Abnormal, hitched breathing is one of the first signs of a temper outburst; it is common in most adults as well. Taking long and deep breaths can turn the situation in a matter of seconds.
After all, an 'outburst', as the name suggests, is when you lose your cool for a few minutes. Deep breaths will help your child think rationally and in turn, avoid creating a scene altogether.
In some really slim situations, it is found that people prefer to stop breathing for a couple of seconds and then resume at a normal pace.

Walk Away

Initially, it might be really difficult for the child to just stand there and not do much.
So, instead teach him to walk away from the situation as soon as things get too heated. It is important to assure him that walking away does not imply giving up the argument or fight.
For example: if your daughter is about to kick up a fight with her brother over a toy, teach her to walk away at that instant. Once she calms down, she can calmly go and ask for it and should the brother still refuse, she can come to you for help.
Most of you know that this is way easier said than done! In reality, a child doesn't follow these instructions when caught in a fight.
So then what is the solution? Tell your kid that when she comes to you, not only will she get the toy back, but you will punish your son as well. This might catch the child's fancy because simply getting the toy back is not enough incentive in her mind. She seeks to get even and wants some form of justice; so you can assure them that you will make it happen.

Anger Management Activities for Kids

Creative Pursuits

Involve kids in various creative activities from a very young age. Not only does this keep the child occupied and focused, it also develops a healthy habit while redirecting all negative and excess energy into learning something new or being creative.
If your child loves dancing, then enroll him in a dance class or if he loves to paint, then let his imagination flow freely on a canvas. Let children explore their creativity, and anger will automatically fade away.

Anger Management Games

These games are designed in a way that they are fun and at the same time, they imbibe essential values in such children.
Games based on improving one's personality can instill the importance of sportsmanship in a child and teach him or her to not be vengeful or hostile after a defeat. Parents, teachers, and schools can design creative games for children which can help them in a better way as compared to making them sit with a counselor.
Worksheets, coloring pages, individual games as well as interactive games, are some of the simple activities for kids that they will love to play. After all, they're just kids; fun games and activities can teach them a lot more than counseling sessions. Such games are most effective when adopted at a very young age.

Breaking Up a Fight

If one (or more) sibling(s) is angry and aggressive, there are bound to be numerous arguments and fights, and sometimes things may get out of hands. As soon as children get physical or violent, you as a parent must intervene. This one's a no-brainer; almost all parents break up fights efficiently and are able to take control of the situation.
However, there are two key things to be kept in mind here:

Forgive and Forget

Children may say and do things they don't mean; as a parent, it is your job to let go of them and not take it personally. If you dwell on such things, a child may live with the conception that he is 'bad' and you will probably never forgive him -- this is a very wrong notion for any kid to develop. Anger, aggression, and fights are all a way of life as long as they're healthy.
You can let your child know that he hurt you, or you're disappointed with his behavior, but don't let it reflect in your actions. Remember, you want him to regret and mend his ways; and not for him to give up and think that he's the bad guy.
Lastly, parenthood is tough, it'll test you at every stage on different aspects. Coping and dealing with every situation is important, but letting it go is equally important. Constantly thinking about something he or she said is simply going to damage your relationship with your child.


Punishment is very important, it teaches a child the most important lesson of life -- that one has to face consequences for his or her actions. No matter how small or big the deed is, ensure that culprit receives adequate punishment for it. A punishment will imbibe principle of "think and act" in the child, ensuring that the same behavior is not repeated.

Some Quick Pointers for Parents

✦ Refrain from bickering and getting into arguments and verbal fights.
✦ Instead of telling your child not to do something, suggest him or her what they can do instead.
✦ Be lavish in your praise and miserly in your criticism.
✦ If the answer to something is 'no', say it firmly, without any negotiations and barters.
✦ Encourage extracurricular activities; they keep the child engrossed.
✦ Don't scold him when he has just done something aggressive, give him time to think straight.
✦ Sympathize; instead of just saying that you understand, give examples showing that you've been through similar situations and you've felt the same kind of emotions.
A kid must be made aware of how anger takes control of him/her and causes a violent outburst. Parents must lead by example; a positive home environment fosters good qualities in any child. Incorporating such qualities in the child's lifestyle will help him control his anger effectively, channelizing the same energy for better purposes.