Many parents believe in the same myth: if they do everything right, their children will be happy. But that’s not how childhood works. No matter how much you love your child or how much you give to them in the way of attention and material items, kids are still going to experience all kinds of emotions, including anger.

It may be the first emotion we recognize in ourselves. And that makes sense, as it is one of the few emotions that we culturally accept. Anger is allowed, generally speaking. So we get angry. But anger, in all its forms, is diagnostic of an underlying issue. Anger comes from either of the 3 reasons…

  1. Hurt
  2. Expectations not met
  3. Needs not met

Of course these issues come in many combinations and configurations and it isn’t usually as simple as identifying, for example, one need and resolving that need.

But especially in children anger is what we see first. Children are not just smaller adults.Anger is just another way we feel. It’s perfectly OK to be angry at times — in fact, it’s important to get angry sometimes.

But anger must be released in the right way. Otherwise you’ll be like a pot of boiling water with the lid left on. If the steam doesn’t escape, the water will finally boil over and blow its top! When that happens to you, it’s no fun for anyone.

Here are some ways to help your child deal with anger:

  1. Recognize it’s normal and Healthy: You can’t help your child if you see them as calm and mollified. The feeling of anger is completely normal and natural for human beings of all ages to experience. Approach your child with this attitude. Do not STOP them from feeling anger, instead help them process their anger in constructive, not destructive ways.
  2. Stay Calm: Its important to remain calm when your child is having an anger fit, even when you feel like blowing your own top. This will not only help keep the situation under control, it will also teach them through action how to control their own emotions and learn to process them as they grow and develop.
  3. Validate Your Child’s Anger: Never tell your child they shouldn’t feel something they are feeling. If they are feeling frustrated and angry, chances are there is a very good reason for it. So validate their anger. This can be as simple as saying, “YOU SEEM VERY UPSET RIGHT NOW”, instead of saying, “HEY, CALM DOWN, THERE’S NO REASON TO GET SO ANGRY”. Validating their feelings will help them identify their emotions and not feel bad or ashamed of them.
  4. Help Them Release Their Energy: Help your child deal with their anger in positive ways instead of negative ways.
    Quick Ways to Help Kids Express Their Anger
    • Rip paper

    • Pop bubble wrap

    • Squish playdough

    • Wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze

    • Write a letter to someone

    • Jump on a trampoline

    • Do wall push-ups

    • Write down what’s bothering you and rip it up

    • Squeeze a stress ball

    • Talk about it

    • Scribble on paper and crumple it up

    • Do jumping jacks

    • Put the palms of your hands together, push and release

    Feeling anger is a natural part of life. Don’t make your child feel bad for their anger and don’t feel like you have somehow failed as a parent because your child experiences anger. Anger just is and we all have to learn to process it in healthy ways.

Some kids have more anger than others. In case of some sudden events in life few children may be dealing with the kind of anger that requires professional counseling. If you or someone you know has a child with extreme anger issues and would like to explore therapy options, please be in touch. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.