Anger is a natural part of life for everyone, including children.
However, unlike adults, children don’t always know how to express their anger and it can emerge in various ways like tantrums, screaming fits or physical violence against their siblings or friends.
Thankfully, there are other ways that you can help your child express their pent-up frustration. Here are just a few:
Give them a sheet of paper and a few watercolours and ask them to paint what they’re feeling.
Tearing up newspapers
Not only does this allow them to do something destructive, it also releases a lot of their extra energy because it takes concentration and strength to complete the task.
Crayons and paper
Depending on the age of your child, give them a selection of crayons and a piece of paper so they can scribble to their heart’s content!
Using whatever toys you have at your disposal, ask your child to assign roles to each toy and act out why they’re angry. With any luck, they might also act out the resolution!
The texture and malleability of playdough makes it the perfect thing for your child to use when they’re feeling angry. They can release all their frustration by ripping it apart and self-soothe by creating new shapes once the anger starts to pass.
It’s hard to be angry or mad when you’re physically exhausted so if your child is on the brink of a tantrum, take them outside and give them a running challenge. Even better, set up a little obstacle course that will completely take their mind of what they were angry about!
Name it to Tame it
When we are experiencing a strong emotion, it can be helpful to name it to tame it, or to control it. When we understand what we are feeling, it can help us to better cope and deal with it. So naming your child’s anger or frustration or hurt can we helpful to show them you understand what is going on for them.
For example, saying “You are really angry right now because you want to stay up later but can’t” or “You are frustrated because you cannot have more sweets” validates what they are feeling, while also teaches them to understand their emotions. This can better help then to resolve it.
For example “When I am angry I go for a run, lets run up and down the sitting room”, or “Can you draw me a picture of what you think frustration would look like as a cartoon character?”.
If you’re concerned that your child is exhibiting more impatience or anger than you believe is normal for their age, take them to their GP to rule out any underlying causes and then contact a child behavioural professional.