Whether because of not getting a snack he wants or fighting with a playmate over a toy, even young children get angry at times. And while anger itself isn't good or bad, the way a child deals with anger can be constructive or destructive. As a parent, it might be tempting to send a child to his room for acting out in anger or to yell at him to stop being mad. But it's better for your child if you help him develop the ability to cope well with anger. Here are some strategies to use.
- Talk it out. Calmly ask your child to explain what has caused her to become so angry. Talking through the issue can help some children work through the anger and calm down. If your child doesn't want to discuss it with you, she may feel comfortable "talking" to a pet, puppet, or imaginary friend.
- Get physical. Kids can let off some steam by stomping their feet, punching a pillow, or pulling, twisting, or pounding on clay. Dancing around or taking a walk may also help. Encouraging a child to do things he enjoys -- drawing, walking the dog, reading -- can also help refocus his thoughts away from anger.
- Give comfort and affection. Let your little one know that you genuinely care about his situation and feelings. Toddlers can be comforted by your physical presence as can older kids facing a frustrating situation. And never underestimate the power of a hug to make a child feel loved and accepted.
- Set a good example. Children mimic adults so the way you handle your own anger and frustration is sure to affect your child. Model positive coping skills -- like doing something that calms you or getting away from a frustrating situation -- and your child is likely to do the same.
- Praise good behavior. Let your child know that you notice when she deals with her anger in a positive way.
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.