Anger Management for Kids

April 30, 2024

Anger is a powerful emotion that can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially for children. But what if we told you that anger isn’t a “bad” emotion? In this blog, we will explore why anger is a normal part of life, and how we can equip children with the tools they need to navigate it effectively.

Katie Thompson, Supervisee in Social Work

When we take the time to teach children tools to navigate their emotions effectively, we empower them to lead more fulfilling lives. Children need to understand that feeling angry is okay, but how they choose to express and manage that anger is crucial to their well-being and the well-being of those around them. Some areas that help target anger-induced behaviors include the ability to identify triggers, deep breathing, positive self-talk, being able to express emotions with kindness and compassion, problem-solving, and asking for support when needed. These areas can help children handle challenges with grace and resilience. Therapy is a great place for children to grow these skills!

Tiffaney Knight, Resident in Counseling

One thing I do for my clients is reassure them that there are no “bad” emotions. I tell them that the choices that we make when feeling an emotion can have positive or negative consequences. In regards to anger, we are typically told it’s a “bad” emotion which can create feelings of shame and guilt for clients when they experience angry moments.

Understanding that anger is normal, I teach my clients tools to navigate those intense moments. I teach the science of anger, showing how your body reacts. This helps normalize the feeling and also allows you to identify your own personal warning signs before anger escalates. I want them to feel comfortable with the idea that we all get angry sometimes. Then, we learn strategies they can use in multiple settings to help calm their bodies. Some strategies we practice are breathing, counting, and mindful thoughts. I want my clients to feel confident that they have the tools to tackle anger head-on but also to know that they are not bad people because they got angry.

Lydia Hatcher, Resident in Counseling 

Anger is an emotion that is at times very difficult to manage. For children, it seems that often anger is born out of frustration. Children struggle with effectively communicating their needs, feelings, thoughts, fears, and disappointment and sometimes react in ways that are inappropriate. Managing emotions is something that children are taught, just like they are taught to share, tie their shoes, and use the potty. It requires an adult to model appropriate responses when they become angry so that children learn to deal with their anger. When children are angry, calming them may help them explain what has triggered them and allow the child to communicate what the problem is. Responding to them with anger only reinforces the negative behavior which creates a bigger issue.

Teaching children how to calm themselves using techniques like deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and calming sequences can help children feel more empowered in their anger responses. Also making them aware of the consequences of their behavior may act as a future deterrent to their angry responses. Calmly talking with the child about alternative ways they could have reacted is a positive way to teach accountability and responsibility. Patience and practice are key to changing behavior and helping the child master this important skill. Families who struggle with managing their child’s anger may benefit from the support and guidance of a therapist who can assist them in learning to identify triggers or issues that contribute to the anger, and who can teach skills and strategies to respond to it.

Wedad Omer, Resident in Counseling

Effective anger management strategies for kids in therapy often involve teaching them various coping mechanisms and communication skills to express their emotions constructively. Therapists may utilize techniques such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, and relaxation techniques to help children regulate their emotions. Additionally, cognitive-behavioral strategies, such as identifying triggers and challenging negative thoughts, can assist kids in understanding and managing their anger. Role-playing scenarios and social skills training can also aid children in learning appropriate ways to express their feelings and resolve conflicts. Through consistent practice and guidance in therapy, children can develop valuable tools to manage their anger and improve their overall emotional well-being.

If you’re concerned about your child’s anger management, don’t hesitate to reach out to Wise Family Wellness. With guidance and support, children can learn to manage their emotions and build resilience.

Stay Wise,

Dr. Amy F. Parks