Resources for Anger in Children
Emotional explosiveness can be a major problem in family
life. In fact, even a very tranquil parent can feel overwhelmed
with anger when a child gets angry. One of the most important
things you can do if you’re trying to help your child deal
with anger is to remain calm yourself. You want to keep
the problem the child’s problem. When you get angry with
the child then you need a whole different solution – a
class on conflict management – because now you have two
angry people frustrated with each other. Instead, you want
to keep the problem the child’s problem. You do this by
remaining calm but firm.
One of the classes in Biblical Parenting University focus on emotions. You'll learn about parental anger, a plan for children's anger and you'll have access to the four hour class and five hours of webinar content focused on this subject. You'll find many solutions that you'll be able to apply to your family.
Anger is a heart issue. You won’t get as far by just focusing
on behavior. What you don’t want is a child who looks good
on the outside but has unresolved anger in the heart. You
may want to read the book Parenting
is Heart Work as you
work on this problem. You’ll learn more about what the
heart is and how to deal with underlying issues. Rarely
is anger the primary issue. Usually children have other
heart issues that, when dealt with, relieve the anger.
We've also written an article about helping
kids with anger.
One of the important anger management tools
you’ll want to develop and practice is what we call a Break.
You might want to read an article about the Break or
listen to a podcast about the Break. The Break is further
developed in the book Home
Improvement, The Parenting Book You Can Read To Your Kids. Most
children who struggle with anger resist the Break because
it requires that they pull back instead of push forward.
Because anger produces energy, most children want to push
forward when they’re angry and they do that with violent
words or actions. One of the primary skills that a child
needs is to pull back when upset. You’ll want to explain
the Break to your child. It’s not a punishment, but a tool
for settling down. You’ll also want to be prepared if your
child refuses to go to the Break or has a tantrum when
in the Break. All of these questions are addressed in chapter
three of the Home Improvement book. Chapter five gives
you a hands-on plan for helping children deal with anger.
In order for children to pull back instead of push forward
they have to see their anger coming on. The Bible says
in James 1:19, “…be quick to listen, slow to speak, and
slow to become angry.” One of the ways to help children
“be slow to become angry” is to teach them to recognize
early warning signs of their anger. Another way to help
children slow down the anger in their own hearts is to
do some teaching about what anger is. Both of these things
are taught on the CD Helping
Children Deal with Anger. Although the live session by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne
Miller, RN, BSN is before an audience of parents, you can
actually listen to that CD with children ages six and up.
Listening together helps you maintain a coaching attitude
with your child. The anger is the child’s problem, but
you want to communicate your desire to help equip your
child with the necessary tools to manage life.
Most of the time, when working on anger management with
children we find that the underlying issues involve an
unwillingness to follow instructions, an inability to transition
from one thing to another, a lack of understanding about
the value of correction, or some bad attitude issues that
transfer from one situation to another. If you suspect
those kinds of problems are the real issue, then we wouldn’t
suggest that you work directly on anger at first. Instead
work on those underlying issues by focusing more on following
instructions, correction, attitude, and accepting no as
an answer. The Heart
Work Training Manuals and CDs go into
depth about these issues and help you know how to build
successful routines to force children out of their angry
ways of thinking.
Be careful that you don’t cater to a child
who uses anger to manipulate the situation or who uses
tantrums to avoid confrontation. Don’t be afraid of a child’s
anger, but don’t jump in and join the battle either. Sometimes
it’s best to confront a child a couple hours after the
angry episode when the emotions have settled. You’ll also
want to transfer the responsibility for anger management
to the child. After all, this is his or her problem and
if not addressed will become a major life issue. If you’re
not seeing progress, don’t assume the problem will get
better. Get additional help. Having a child meet with a
person from church or a counselor to talk about anger can
often help process emotion in a more helpful way.
To help you get started or to develop a plan you might
want to set up a phone coaching
session with Dr. Scott
Be sure to pray for your child regularly. Also, pray for
yourself so that you are spiritually ready to address the
challenges of the day. Often children ride the emotional
waves of the parents so your calmness will likely produce
more peace in family life in general.
If you sense that your own anger needs some
work you might want to read the book Good
and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You
and Your Kids. This book addresses
parental anger and helps you know how to better respond
to your own frustrations and even use them wisely to point
out problems that need to be addressed in your children.
You might also want to read about resources in the section
Anger, Yelling, and Nagging.
Remember that some anger is caused by hurt such as a divorce,
physical pain, or the loss of a loved one. That kind of
anger needs a different approach. The CD Helping
Children Deal with Anger goes into hurt anger more in depth so if
you suspect that there are underlying hurt issues, you
might want to listen to that talk by Dr. Scott Turansky
and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.
Of all the problems that happen in parenting, a child’s
anger can be the most disruptive, so stay on it, continue
to look for new approaches and solutions and ask God to
guide you to strategic heart moments with your child. We
believe that children who get angry a lot or feel their
anger intensely have a gift, it just needs to be trained
and managed. People who experience intense emotions also
have the ability to understand the emotions of others and
even connect with people on an emotional level. Your child
may end up being a counselor someday. Now’s the time to
teach important skills of anger management.