Does your child seem to have trouble with anger? Everyone has times when they feel angry or upset, and with children, this can be even more prominent since they haven't quite learned how to regulate their emotions yet. This means that they can be more outspoken, more hurtful, and even more aggressive because they're still learning.
If your child seems to get angry quickly or tends to be more aggressive or heated than other children of a similar age, it may be time to seek professional guidance. Anger management can be productive for kids, just as it can help adults.
Does My Child Need Anger Management?
The average child may experience full-blown tantrums and meltdowns, and this is typically nothing to be overly concerned about. Even if your child seems mild-mannered most or even all of the time, it's natural for them to get upset occasionally because they are still developing. However, most children will outgrow this type of behavior by the time they reach age 4. By this time, they start to internalize the self-regulating behaviors that you taught them about how to manage their anger. They may still have occasional outbursts (we all get overly emotional sometimes) but their normal anger is more toned down by this age.
If your child is over the age of 4 and still experiencing tantrums and outbursts that are not regulated, this could be a sign that there is something else going on. The length and prevalence of the tantrums can also play a role in whether the behavior is concerning or not. Other behavior that could be a sign of something more serious could be:
- Behavior that could harm the child or someone else
- Behavior that causes problems in school
- Behavior that interferes with the ability to make and keep friends
- Behavior that interferes with family life
- Feelings that the anger is uncontrollable
- Feeling bad for themselves because of the uncontrollable anger
- Throws or breaks things when angry
- Finds it very difficult to calm down
- Does not like any kind of change
- Says mean things when they feel ignored or treated unfairly
These symptoms could indicate difficulty managing anger and could be an indication that professional guidance is needed. Your child may be having difficulty controlling their anger and this could cause problems in the future if left unaddressed.
Why Does My Child Have Anger Problems?
There are several potential causes for anger problems in children, which can range from ADHD, anxiety, trauma, or neglect to learning problems and trouble processing sensory information. This means that there could be reasons that your child is acting out that have nothing to do with them being an innately angry child. Rather, it may have more to do with them not being able to understand or control their emotions, and subsequently reacting in the only ways that they know how. Not understanding what is happening to them or not having the vocabulary to express it may make your child angry and upset and, as a result, they might lash out at the people around them.
By discovering the root of your child's anger, you may be able to help them improve their lives. Getting your child to understand what is happening to them well enough to diagnose the problem, however, is something that should be left to the professionals. Self-diagnoses can make a problem worse and could contain an incorrect assessment. A professional can talk with your child about what they're experiencing, make a proper diagnosis, and work on a treatment plan with them.
How Can Anger Problems Affect My Child's Future?
As your child gets older, it can lead to even more harm to them personally. Finding a partner and friends and even getting a stable job can be difficult for an adult who has trouble with anger management. This is why getting help as early as possible can be important.
What Can I Do For My Child?
As a parent of a child with anger issues, consistency in discipline can be important. Finding a style of discipline that works for you and your child can be time-consuming, but once you find something that works, sticking to it can be essential. This can mean creating rules and not allowing them to be bent. For example, if it is against the rules for your child to talk back, then it can be crucial that you follow the same process of discipline each time that your child talks back.
Helping a child with anger management is more than just about punishments or discipline, however. It's about positive parenting as well. It is important to give your child encouragement and reinforce positive interactions. Being a positive role model for the child can teach them how to mimic your behavior. This can include being calm and consistent with them.
Consider the following advice as well:
- Don't give in to tantrums. Instead, stay calm.
- Praise the positive things that your child does.
- Ignore minor instances of negative behavior.
- Be consistent with everything you do.
- Don't try to talk with a child who is in the middle of a meltdown. Allow them to feel their emotions safely by bringing them to a calm and safe environment.
- Work on creating a way to help your child calm down.
Every child and family can have unique challenges and different needs. It can be important to explore different parenting styles to find one that works efficiently for you and your child. With the right tools, support, and mindset, your child can learn to overcome their anger.
Online Counseling With BetterHelp
Watching your child struggle with anger management may begin to take a toll on your mental health. Of course, finding a professional can be difficult, no matter where you live. If you can’t find someone within a reasonable distance of your home, online counseling could be an option. BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that can connect you with a therapist from the comfort of your home. You can have sessions according to your availability and whether you’re at home, on vacation, or anywhere else. Being a parent can be busy and stressful, but online therapy can allow you to get the mental health support you need without adding additional stress to your life.
The Efficacy Of Online Counseling
Online counseling has been shown to be effective at managing and treating a variety of mental health disorders and concerns. In a study conducted by the Centre for Psychiatry Research at Karolinska Institute in Sweden, researchers found that “four weeks of therapy delivered over the internet can help people with anger and aggression.”
A therapist can give them practical tools for controlling their anger and tips for overcoming it. This can allow your child to look forward with more optimism and you to feel more confident about their future as their parent. You can also meet with a therapist to discuss what your child is going through and receive support throughout their healing process.
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