Even as adults, we will often be placed into scenarios in which we find it difficult to control our anger.
Despite the fact that we have had time to learn about our emotions over the years, and have learnt our own mechanisms to keep ourselves calm, sometimes it can seem almost impossible to be able to hold it all back.
While keeping this in mind, imagine how hard it must be for your child.
They are fairly new to this world. They have little-to-no experience with handling their emotions and are pretty much living off of their natural, basic instincts.
If something has upset them, whether it be a major or minor event, they will express their emotions in the only ways they know how, unless they have been taught otherwise… and, even if you have taught them coping mechanisms to deal with these outbursts, it takes time for these lessons to sink in.
Children do not have the emotional maturity that we do, therefore they will react in irrational ways. This isn’t their fault, and it isn’t your fault either. It is simply the way our brains work while they are still developing.
If you are here, reading this article, then perhaps you are finding it hard to understand and deal with your child’s current behavior.
The most important thing for you to understand right now is that your child is not doing this deliberately: the likelihood is that they need a little help and guidance to be able to express themselves in a healthy way.
While this will be no easy task, and there is no quick fix that will change their behavior overnight, we have some ten underlying reasons that may be the reason your child is having trouble, and some tips that may help you both find some peace.
So, let’s get started.
While this shouldn’t be the first conclusion to jump to, you may, as a parent, be able to sense that something is not quite right with your child’s behavior.
Many children suffer from behavioural or emotional difficulties, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or autism (ASD).
Everyone’s brains are wired differently, and if your child happens to suffer from behavioural problems, that is completely out of their and your control: it is no one’s fault, and is just part of the genetic lottery.
These conditions will vastly affect how your child manages their emotions, including anger. However, this doesn’t mean that there is no way to help them!
There are many ways you can help your child manage their emotions, including spending extra quality time with them, praising them for good behavior, and sometimes it is worth trying therapy.
These difficulties will make it very difficult for your child to manage their behaviours and emotions, so it is important to be patient with them. Help is out there for both you and your child if you feel that you are struggling to cope alone.
Similar to the previous point, learning disabilities may take a while to be diagnosed, but, as a parent, you will likely sense that your child is different from others.
Many learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and dyspraxia, are fairly common amongst children. However, until they are diagnosed, your child may feel misunderstood and frustrated that they are, perhaps, not learning as quickly as the other children in their class.
They may become angry while performing certain tasks, such as learning to read and write, as it can be much more difficult for them, and seeing their peers surpass them may cause stress and sadness.
Again, having a learning disability is often no one’s fault, and it is important to let your child know that they are still important and validated. There is plenty of help out there for your child, and with some guidance, they will be able to catch up and become just as successful as others their age.
You will need to be patient with your child, and try to understand why they are feeling so angry and upset. Spend a little extra time with them, and talk to them about their feelings.
Remind them that it is normal to feel this way, and that while their disability won’t go away overnight, there are many ways to help manage it.
No one likes feeling like they are out of control, even us adults. It can be an awful, degrading feeling, and we can often struggle while dealing with it.
For children, it can be so much worse as they don’t really have much control of any aspects of their lives: they spend the first part of their life being told what to do by parents, teachers, and other authorial figures in their lives.
Their days are packed with school schedules, whether they’re sitting in their classes or doing their homework when they get home.
There have been studies over the years that stress how important playtime is for children, and how it is a fundamental part of their development throughout childhood: if your child is spending too much time working, and not enough time playing, they may feel that their lives are out of their own control.
It can be a tricky line to cross, as you want your child to succeed in their education, but they also need to have some fun in order to learn and grow. If your child feels that they are being pushed a little too hard, and they feel like they have no control over anything that they do, they may express anger.
It is important for your child to have that balance of work and play, and for them to feel that they do, indeed, have some sort of control of their own lives so that they can learn and develop.
In many cases, anxiety disorders can cause anger behavioural issues. This is because the child is likely to be confused by their emotions, as well as being frightened.
While our brains are in an anxious state, we often enter a mode known as ‘fight or flight’: this causes us to either want to hide away from the world, or to take these challenges on in less-than-convenient ways. Your child may be using anger to mask their true inner feelings.
Try talking to your child about how they really feel.
If it is anxiety that is triggering their behavioural issues, you will be happy to hear that there are so many ways that your child can be helped through this difficult time, and can be treated for their disorder: contact your doctor, make them aware of your concerns, and they will give suggestions of suitable forms of treatment.
We understand how difficult it can be at times, being a parent in this day and age. Whether you’re a single parent, a parent who works full time, or a parent who just can’t seem to find any free time in their lives.
This point may seem the most obvious, but it can also be the most difficult: it is so, so important for your child to feel like they have warm, close relationships with those surrounding them on a day-to-day basis.
As we said, we know it can be difficult finding the time, especially if you have more than one child: it can feel like you’re being spread too thinly, and there is just no extra time in the day.
However, your child may feel disconnected from you. If they feel they are not getting the attention they deserve, they may act out, using anger as a form of catching your attention.
If you lash out at them back, this will cause more harm than good, as they will wonder what they have done wrong. Although it may be difficult, try to find some time to spend one-on-one time with your child. Take them to the park after school, or play a board game with them at home.
Family time is essential for a child’s development, and it will help them feel loved, even though we have no doubt that they already are: it’s all about convincing your child, and letting them know that you really do want to spend quality time with them.
There may be a physical reason that your child is feeling frustrated. This may be the simplest issue on this list to deal with, although the most important part is identifying what exactly is causing your child to feel the way they do.
Everybody knows that there are many aspects of our physical health that we must take care of to maintain a healthy emotional state: for example, a lack of sleep can cause us to be cranky, and not eating enough food can make us ‘hangry’.
There are so many physical attributes that could be causing your child to feel frustrated, and it is important to identify the source of these issues right away. Is your child staying up late on their phones or games without you knowing?
Are they eating enough at school? You should even consider their blood levels, as having low blood pressure can cause extreme mood swings for children and adults alike. Talk to your child, and ask if they are feeling unwell in any way.
There may be something else that is hurting them. In this case, you can take them to the doctor and find out what is going on. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved quickly, and your child can return to their previous, happy mindset.
Major Life Changes
Changes are a huge part of everyone’s lives, whether they are positive or negative. We cannot avoid it, and it can often be difficult to deal with, especially if they impact our lives in a major way.
While we can find ways to justify these changes as adults, it is a much harder concept for children to grasp. Any kind of life change, such as a divorce, moving houses, or gaining a new sibling, may heighten a child’s emotions in extreme ways.
Even something as simple as moving up a class at school could throw off your child’s routine enough to upset them. A change in a child’s life can be very scary, and they may feel very alone and vulnerable during this process.
This anxiety may lead to anger, as it is one of the few ways they know how to express their feelings.
Try to be patient with them. A major life event can throw off a child’s everyday routine, no matter how much you try and smooth the situation out, and you never know what they are really going through during this time. The best thing you can do is talk to them.
Ask them how they are feeling. Teach them that change is okay, and even though it may seem scary at the time, these changes can be exciting! If they are experiencing a loss, it is also very important to communicate as clearly as you can.
Grief is a horrible feeling for anyone, but for a child, it can be twice as confusing and upsetting. Take it easy on them, and let them know that what they are feeling is perfectly normal.
We are all familiar with physical ‘growing pains’, but we can often forget that a child will experience emotional development as they grow older, as well as physical development.
A human being’s brain doesn’t finish developing until they are twenty five years old. However, the period of time in which our brains develop the most is from the toddler stage up until adolescence.
The brain continues to grow during childhood, and the heavy construction of neurons and synapses will cause many changes to a child’s thoughts and emotions as they continue to develop both physically and mentally.
In other words, your child’s anger issues may pass with time! This may simply be a brief stage that they are going through, and in this case, all you can do is wait it out. In the meanwhile, continue to support them with love, patience and guidance.
It is possible that your child was simply born with a powerful, strong willed nature, and that was simply how their brains were wired at birth.
It has been proven that every person is born with a certain number of traits, and these have been wired into our brains from the moment we enter the world. These temperaments may decide whether we are introverted or extroverted, sensitive or boisterous, and many other traits.
While our personalities do change over time, there are often parts of us that remain pretty much the same from when we were babies. If your child was born with a particularly strong personality, they may carry that into their childhood, and even into adulthood.
This doesn’t have to be seen as negative! Yes, your child may express anger more often than others, but perhaps they are simply just trying to communicate with you, and their lively, vibrant nature causes them to speak quite passionately.
It is important not to get angry with them, or to shout: your child’s big personality may help them as they get older, and you don’t want to make them feel ashamed of the person that they are, and that they are growing into.
What you can do is teach them how to control their expressions, and teach them that there are certain situations in which they should be quiet, or stay cool.
It will be frustrating for them to have to try harder than other kids to manage their emotions, but they should learn, over time, how to use their confidence in the most appropriate ways they can.
Learning From Others
Last on this list, we will be considering something that is extremely important and beneficial to a child’s personality development, and how to prevent the worst from taking place.
Young children are like sponges: during the first couple of years of their development, you may notice that they’ll copy certain people’s behaviours, or repeat certain words that they hear.
While it can’t be helped if your child accidentally hears you swear while accidentally dropping and smashing a ceramic plate – and, let’s be honest, it can be difficult not to laugh hearing a baby repeating a naughty word – there are other behaviours that should be avoided around children.
If they spend a lot of time with a person who also displays anger management issues, they may think it’s okay to display similar behaviors.
If anger is often used as a form of communication within their household, the child may grow up to think that this behaviour is acceptable, and will begin expressing their emotions this way too.
It is so, so important to teach children from a young age that lashing out through anger is not acceptable, and the best way to do this is to not display that behaviour in front of them.
It can be difficult sometimes, but try your hardest not to shout at them if they have done something wrong.
Teach your children that we should always communicate calmly, and that we don’t need to shout, or lash out. It is your responsibility, and the responsibility of those around the child, to teach them how to behave appropriately.
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