How can I respond to my child’s anger towards me?
- It’s the hardest thing to do, but try not to mirror the child’s anger. In fact, try and do the opposite so begin to speak softer, and use open body language.
- Acknowledge their feelings of anger so they know they are being heard, but be clear that you will only have a proper discussion with them when they are calmer.
- Stick to your boundaries. Boundaries and consequences are especially important for children who struggle with anger, as they help them feel contained and safe due to the consistency. They might not like it, but it is helping them.
How can I help my child with their anger at school?
- If your child doesn’t know why they are getting angry, try and listen to what they are saying and help them see the pattern. If you see a pattern developing, then you can begin to strategize.
- If it seems to you that a particular situation or person is the cause of the anger outbursts at school, raise it with the teacher if has not already been noticed, and see if there are changes that can be made to lessen the cause. It might be possible for you to develop an exit strategy with the school for your child, so that when they feel they are becoming overwhelmed, they can take a timeout of activities and go to a designated area to avoid losing their temper.
- Reinforce the boundaries at school – explain to your child that whilst you know it is not their fault they feel angry, they are still responsible for their actions and they have consequences.
- Teach your child some anger management techniques that they can employ when they find themselves getting wound up like breathing techniques, counting to ten, imagining they are somewhere else, or even using a stress ball or fidget spinner.
- Reward your child for small victories – making sure they know you are supporting them on this path to controlling their emotions.
What if my child’s anger is too much for me?
- Children can be cruel when in a rage and they often know just what to say to set us off. But losing your cool won’t help anyone. Try to seperate the actions or words from the child, but be clear in explaining that whilst you love them and know they didn’t mean it, their actions and words have consequences. Remind yourself that they are the child and you are the adult.
- If your child is becoming physically and verbally aggressive in a way that you know you can no longer tolerate, remove yourself from the room to avoid escalation, if it is safe for you and the child to do so.
- If your child’s aggression is causing you to fear for the safety of yourself or others in the home, warn the child that you will call the police if the aggression does not stop and then follow through on the warning if it does not.
What can I do when I feel like I’m over my head?
- Remember: It’s normal to feel like that. This is a difficult and challenging time, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed.
- Find support for you; don’t shut yourself off from help and be honest about your own feelings. We have some support links below:
- Don’t blame yourself.
- Be hopeful. You are not alone.