Anger Management in Children

Children, just as adults, can exhibit different ways of expressing their anger or frustration.  The difference is that adults typically have better ways of coping with and understanding these emotions.  Children, on the other hand lack the maturity to understand why they feel the way that they do.

It is not unusual for a child to experience moments of stress which can lead to anger. Children will tend to respond to these situations by “acting out “. This can be displayed by crying uncontrollably, screaming, clenching their fists, hitting or being difficult to console.

These are a variety of events that can lead a child to displaying their frustration, including:

  • A new person, such as a baby, coming into the home
  • Parents fighting all the time
  • Starting a new school
  • Moving to a new home
  • Having a difficult time in school
  • Being bullied
  • Experiencing a trauma such as the loss of a loved one

What are some of the ways to help a child cope with their anger? Here are a few suggestions:

Children have to understand that there are certain rules and limits that they must live by. Setting a good example as an adult as to what constitutes good behavior is very important. It is also important to be consistent when setting boundaries. Rules can’t change from one situation to another and from one adult to another when dealing with a child.

Additional recommendations include:

  • Rewarding good behavior.
  • Keeping calm, getting angry at the already angry child can make things worse
  • Trying to speak to the child away from others so that they aren’t being embarrassed in front of others
  • Be reassuring to the child, tell them everything will be okay.
  • If the child is old enough, allowing them to verbalize why they feel the way they do.

Some activities that a child can do to relieve stress and lessen anger include having them:

  • Pop bubble wrap
  • Squish playdough
  • Scribble on a piece of paper than crumple it up
  • Do exercises
  • Rip a piece of paper

Most children will respond well to an adult who wants to help them learn how to cope with their anger. However there are some situations where professional intervention may be necessary. Speak to your pediatrician if you think your child is becoming angry too frequently or is overreacting. If you would like to make an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.