Human feelings allow us to adapt to different situations. Therefore, all emotion is needed, including negative aspects, such as sadness or anger.
Anger is something that plays a very important role in life because it is an emotion that motivates us to defend ourselves against assaults or situations that we consider unfair. However, uncontrolled anger can be very harmful, both for us and for those around us.
This basic emotion is particularly delicate when it occurs in children, those who have not yet acquired all the social rules that make them regulate this feeling. Therefore, anger-focused emotional education can become an important tool.
Let’s take a look at some strategies for being able to manage and control anger in children., By promoting their emotional intelligence and giving them the tools to develop as future adapted adults.
Anger: a basic emotion
If human beings did not feel anger, many of the unjust situations such as slavery, the oppression of ethnic minorities and the denial of women’s rights would not have been overcome. Anger allows us to step forward to what we think is wrong and show our displeasure, either by arguing about it or by fighting to keep it from happening again.
The factors that cause this emotion in children can be very varied. We could classify them in two types: the interns, which would belong to the child, for example, being upset because he did not obtain good grades, and the externs, which would be due to a factor other than him, as if it had been dropped and damaged or hit by a partner.
The bad thing about this emotion is not the fact that it occurs in children. It is a natural and adaptive thing that allows us to deal with a situation that we consider unfair or in which we have been wronged. However, although it is a basic emotion, it has physiological repercussions, such as changes in blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, given the still premature socialization and culturization of the child, he does not know how to behave and may react by attacking and insulting others.
How to control children’s anger?
Humans, by instinct, tend to react aggressively, but doing so in every situation that makes us angry is neither healthy nor adaptive.
This can cause problems between friends, at school or in family, being a feeling very detrimental to the good development of the child, affecting the emotional sphere. This is why it is so important to teach children to deal with this emotion..
1. Develop empathy
It is about making the child understand that others also have feelings, And try to get them to put themselves in each other’s shoes.
To encourage empathic thinking, you can introduce the child to situations, such as hitting a classmate or hurting someone, and ask them how they think they would feel in that situation, which they think they can do. . Gets angry …
2. Recognize and express your anger
When the child is in an episode of anger, it is more difficult to negotiate with him. He doesn’t listen to us, especially if he makes a lot of noise knocking on doors, knocking on doors or even breaking dishes.
It is best to wait for the storm to calm down. Talk to him when he’s calmed down to show him what he’s done or why he’s angry. Things are best understood when you are calmer.
As we said, the instinct is to act aggressively when you are angry. This usually leads to violent actions which can end up being very destructive.
A very interesting option is to give the child tools which do the opposite, which are constructive and which promote creativity. Some of them paint, draw or write on a piece of paper as you see fit, and by doing them you keep saying what it means to paint or write.
3. Breathing exercises
Although this may sound like a cliché, taking a deep breath before doing what you may regret is a good way to reduce anger, Although this is not a panacea.
In doing so, they can be told to think of a beautiful place, such as a forest, a flowered field, or a store full of candy.
These pleasant images, combined with deep breathing, help you relax by thinking more clearly.
4. Self-control techniques
Children need to learn that all feelings are valid, but not all behavior. They should see that they have a right to feel offended when someone does something to them that they don’t like, but they have an obligation to respond in a non-violent way.
Throwing, hitting, grabbing hair, spitting and insulting are behaviors that we cannot tolerate in children, and we must blame them. If they have done it several times and in a very violent manner, punishment is a necessary measure.
But the best way to avoid having to punish is to teach them techniques so that they can use them when they are angry.
One of the techniques that can be used to start by promoting self-control is the traffic light technique. A few traffic lights form a traffic light, which has three colored lights: one green, one red, and one yellow.
With the red light we told him he should stop doing what he is doing because he is not controlling his anger. With yellow we have indicated that you should meditate on what you are doing and why you are feeling this way. With green, we tell him to express what he feels.
5. Release the tension
Children who engage in physically demanding activities, such as soccer or swimming, come home relaxed. Sport produces endorphins which contribute to a general state of relaxation and well-being.
Plus, it acts as a self-control technique, as it allows them to deal with anger more calmly.
In addition, coaches of football and other sports often have techniques to teach children to behave sportily in the game, without them getting angry because they have been shown a yellow card or have been shown a yellow card or by a teammate. hit with an elbow.
Coaches’ techniques are not only useful on the playground, they also have a positive impact on other places of the child such as home or school.
6. Don’t react to your dissatisfaction
Whether the child behaves well or behaves badly does not depend solely on his personality. Education is a key factor for a child to become a suitable adult.
The first educational environment in which the child is immersed is his own home. Parents who do not know how to respond properly to episodes of anger in their child are like someone throwing gasoline down a fireplace.
If parents are called out, scolded very loudly, or in the most serious and dysfunctional cases physically assaulting their own children, we should not expect them to magically get along.
If the child is not behaving as he should, the parents should ignore it. They often seek to be the center of attention for whatever reason. If they are ignored, they win and continue to behave badly knowing that with it they get what they want.
Although it may seem like it has a lot of energy, kids end up getting tired and if they see that with what they’re doing they don’t get what they want they will likely stop doing it.
When to look for a professional?
Usually children learn to deal with anger, Either for the discipline offered by parents and teachers, or to receive the influences of the culture with which they are in contact.
However, sometimes there are children who fail to acquire sufficient self-control, even if every effort has been made to enable the child to act appropriately in the face of an episode of anger.
Before parents are blamed for thinking that they are not good educators or believing that their child has no solution, it is necessary to consult a mental health professional to ensure that the problem does not exist. It’s not really due to a behavioral or developmental disorder.
The professional will analyze what are the triggers of anger in the child, whether it is due to family factors or if the child suffers from a certain type of problem that makes it difficult to control.
In addition to having the therapeutic tools to promote the good development of the child, the age at which he is will also be taken into account, in order to apply the most suitable treatment according to his stage of development.
- Harris, W., Schoenfeld, CD, Gwynne, PW, Weissler, AM (1964) Circulatory and Mood Responses to Fear and Anger. The Physiologist, 7, 155.
- Di Giuseppe, R .; Raymond Chip Tafrate, Understanding Anger Disorders Oxford University Press, 2006, pages 133-159.