Anger management / Emotion regulation in children

Anger behaviour problems child

 

Anger, like many other emotions, is a normal emotion and part of being human. However, when a child’s anger becomes uncontrollable, excessive, or harmful to themselves or others, parents and children can benefit from learning strategies to better manage the anger.

Signs that a child’s anger is problematic

  • Getting easily irritated and quick escalations of anger
  • Frequent difficulties with following instructions, accepting “no” or not getting their own way
  • Frequently arguing with, or back-chatting towards adults (parents, teachers, etc)
  • Frequent temper tantrums (screaming, swearing, throwing things)
  • Aggressive displays of anger (hitting, kicking, biting, punching themselves or others)
  • Staying angry for a long time or taking a long time to calm down
  • Difficulty making or keeping friends due to their anger
  • Bullying or manipulating other children or adults into doing things they want
  • Frequently getting into trouble at school for being angry or being suspended
  • Parents feeling exasperated, lacking control or being scared of their child
  • Difficulty with taking responsibility or making apologies or amends for their behaviour
  • Refusing to talk about or acknowledge their anger

 

Treatment for Anger Problems in Children

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is the primary treatment recommended for children with anger management difficulties. This treatment can help children with anger problems to:

  • Recognise the signs of anger in their body
  • Learn to identify early warning signs of anger and apply strategies to calm down
  • Learn sportsmanship, sharing, turn-taking and other social skills
  • Take responsibility for their anger and work on making amends to others
  • Understand that they are capable of making good choices
  • Express their anger in more appropriate ways
  • Change unhelpful thinking patterns and interpretations of situations
  • Learn how to better manage conflict

Skills for parents to help child anger

In addition, CBT can help parents to teach their children the above skills and develop their own parenting skills in the following:

  • Taking control, setting ground rules and expectations
  • Remaining calm and firm when their child is angry
  • Validating their child’s angry feelings whilst still setting limits on any inappropriate behaviours
  • Behaviour management, using positive reinforcement and appropriate consequences
  • Talking with their child about anger and other feelings
  • Helping their child use problem-solving strategies when feeling angry
  • Managing their own anger and modelling helpful coping strategies
  • Helping their child to make amends when they have behaved inappropriately or hurt others

 

If you would like to find out more about our treatment for child anger problems, or to book an appointment with one of our clinical psychologists who provides treatment for these difficulties, please email or call the clinic on 0405 430 530.

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