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Parenting An Angry Child

Nov 20, 2007
There's a secret to understanding anger, and it is simple. Anger, almost always, is not the first reaction someone has to a situation; there is a prior emotion like disappointment or sadness which precedes the anger.

Parenting angry kids can be difficult; sometimes it can be nearly impossible.

But understanding anger itself, and realizing that it's not only healthy, but essential, for kids to express anger, will start them on the road to learning to express it appropriately and not in ways harmful to others and to themselves.

Even so, the first time a child announces that he or she hates Mom, or Dad, or both, can be very painful. But it's almost certain to happen at least once, and when it does, you can exercise some techniques for parenting angry children which will help both you and your child survive and live to laugh another day.

When you feel your own simmering dislike of the way in which your child is behaving begin to heat to an uncomfortable level, just stop, focus on a spot on the all, count to three, or ten, any number of your choice and restore your equilibrium.

The worst thing you could do is respond to your child's anger in kind and get sucked into a power struggle. You have the power; your child knows it; and that's why he or she is testing you.

Let your child know that you hear the anger and that as soon as it has subsided, you'll have a conversation about what caused it. Don't try to talk the child out of feeling what he or she so obviously does feel; whether or not you think the anger is justified is not the issue.

The anger is real, and you need to let you child know that while it's okay to be angry, it's not okay to release that anger by lashing out at someone else.

Your child will send signals when the anger has subsided enough that you can begin a calm discussion about its cause; it may take you a few false starts to learn to read them, but eventually you will.

When you do settle down for your talk, limit it to a discussion of facts. Let your child tell you the specific thing you did, or failed to do, that triggered the anger. Don't interrupt with your explanation; you'll only leave you child feeling frustrated. Parenting an angry kid can be challenging!

Once you're sure your child has nothing left to offer on the topic of how your actions were responsible for his or her outburst, start brainstorming on what the two of you can do to avoid such a confrontation in the future.

Inviting children to solve the problem is an extremely empowering gesture, and lets them know that their place in a relationship with you does count.

You may be surprised that your child's anger is sometimes justified. Sometimes parents promise to do something without really paying attention to what they are saying, and do not realize that their children are taking them seriously.

Or they erroneously blame their children for something without getting all the facts. If you find you have done that, simply apologize. Parenting an angry kid will require you to accept responsibility for your own shortcomings.

Above all, no matter how angry your child is at you, be ready when the outburst is over to let him or her know that it's okay to be angry, that you sometimes become very angry, and that your child's anger is no match for you love.
About the Author
Matt Garrett 2007 www.PositiveParentingHandbook.com Get your Free 12 Part Ecourse on Positive Parenting for Raising Healthy, Happy and Smart Kids What Makes a Good Parent.
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