Being a parent is the best, most rewarding, hardest, most exhausting job in the world. On your journey to becoming a parent people will tell you all of the wonderful and great parts of parenting. They often do not tell you how difficult it can often times be.
Being a parent of a child who has anger issues only adds to the already daunting task of parenting. On top of the day-to-day life you also have to deal with meltdowns, tantrums, yelling, and sometimes worse. It is during those moments that you may wonder where you went wrong. How you ended up where you are and how you can make the changes necessary to raise your child to be a kind and responsible member of society.
If you are dealing with a teen or pre-teen you may know far too well what it means to be raising a child who has anger issues. You may be able to pinpoint where the anger comes. If you can it will be easier to help walk them through their anger and reach the other side. While there are some children who seem to be angry for no apparent reason. Maybe we are looking at their attitude of anger when it could be something else. Maybe it is sleep deprivation, lack of schedule, or improper diet. If you know that it is none of those things it is time to try working on other ways of turning those frowns upside down. Oh and theirs too. 😉
5 Tips for Parenting A Child with Anger Issues
Offer a Hug
While your child is in the middle of a fit or melt down offering them a hug may very well be the last thing you want to do. But let’s talk this out a minute. Imagine a time in your recent past when you were angry. When you needed to yell or scream. What if someone you loved asked you for a hug? Would that help you? Would you be apt to stop your fit and hug it out? Hugging releases feel good hormones into the blood stream which will help rewire the brain to go from anger to calm. A hug at the right moment may be just the trick your child needs to slow down and refocus their anger.
Stop and refocus
How many times have you heard someone say “count to 10”? Why do they do that? It is simple. When you stop and count to 10 it allows you time to stop and refocus. Stopping to count may help to teach your child to turn their attention from the negative things around them, breathe a bit more slowly, and refocus their anger on something else. A good way to refocus, instead of counting, is to stop right there and pray. Ask your child to kneel with you, hold hands, and pray outloud with one another. Take it all to God and leave your anger there. Now you can refocus on forgiveness and being at a place of peace again.
Load up and Leave
No, not you! You have to take the kids too!! When your child is angry and nothing is helping, have them put on their shoes, load up in the car and leave. Go to the park and walk. Do not misunderstand, you are not taking them for a playdate. This is not a reward for bad behavior. Instead you are removing them from their situation, refocusing their attention (and yours) and are able to take a step outside of their anger. You may find that once you have gotten out of your home for a bit the issues that you were dealing with weren’t as bad as they seemed. This is a good time to talk about what triggered the episode and walk through ways of dealing with anger.
Phone a Friend
Remember that show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” One of their ‘life line’ options was phoning a friend. The key to this was they had friends in mind who were wise enough to be able to offer them the help they needed at the time they would be in trouble. It is important for us as parents to have those friends around us. Friends who we can call in the middle of a crisis and ask for help. Maybe they can chat on the phone with your child and help calm them and walk them through their issues. Maybe they can help keep you calm so you can handle it better. Either way it is good to have someone in your corner that you can trust to help you through.
Go to bed…
Yep… you read that right. Go to bed and start the day over. Ok, so maybe you can’t do this if it is 10am. But you can send your child to bed. It may be that they didn’t rest well the night before and need a nap. Even teens may require a nap from time to time. I know I am
thirty something a grown woman and I need a nap here and there to keep myself in check.
Remember friends, you are raising little people with real feelings and emotions. They will not always have it together. They will fall apart. They will lose their temper. They will push each and every button that you have. The key is to love them through it. Be their parent, not their friend. Set good limits, boundaries, and schedules. Show them that you are someone they can depend on and learn from. By doing these things they will be able to work through their anger issues.
If you are finding that your child is hurting themselves or others when they are angry, please I am begging you to seek help for them and your family. There may be more going on than you or I can deal with and they need help working things out. It is okay to get that help for them and for yourself.
You are not in this alone!