How do you teach your kids to express their anger?

It's important to help your children learn to express their anger in a productive way, instead of holding it in or lashing out at others. How do you teach your kids to react when they get angry?

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26  Answers

11 0

Hello, I am a 56 yr old mom on my third time around.... I raised my daughter, three grandchildren and last year we adopted my great-grandaughter who happens to be Autistic. So here are a couple of things that I have found worked over the years.... at least for 2 and up. Step 1:Have a craft day and make Feeling masks.You know, Mad, Happy, Sad, but dont forget to make a mask for Proud AND Frustrated. As a former counselor I can tell you that Anger is ALWAYS the SECOND emotion. So the idea is to cover it before a tantrum or other negative behaviour happens. How? Step 2: Play games, that's right! Use the masks and play games! Hold a mask in front of your face, ask the little one "What Does This Face Look Like?" , then ask them to make a face. (i.e. I hold up a Happy Face... then ask Savannah to show me HER happy face and so on). This game opens the door for you and the little one(s) to talk about feelings. On Frustrated: this is the emotion that I think kids feel first most of the time. It may be because he/she CAN"T tie a shoe, get a toy to do what they want or more likely going from a preferred activity to a needed activity (i.e. playing to bathtub) or because you said thay can't have or do something they desire. We also have a DVD "Kibbles Rockin' Clubhouse". I think it is the second one in the series but it is about feelings, I have let parents borrow it that have kids that are NOT ASD. This video appeals to all ages. This has helped our 3yr old Asberger's babe IDENTIFY how she is feeling. Do temper tantrums still happen? Frankly No. When we were beginning this process.... it got worse before it got better. And it took alot to walk away when she folded up in a ball on the floor. Has that happened in public? Yes. What did we do? took about 20 steps away. Did we get comments from people not minding their business? Yes. We simply said in reply that WE WERE OKAY with her being upset. I PROMISE YOU that when the munchkin sees that you DO NOT REACT AT ALL, they quickly figure out it nets them nothing. Now, true enough I tell Ms. S that I can't understand her when she is crying, but to go ahead and cry and when she is done crying Mommy MiMi will try to fix it. I PROMISE THAT YOUR LITTLE ONE WILL LEARN TO COUNT TO 10 AND TAKE 3 DEEP BREATHS IF YOU TEACH THEM! Then you don't have to feel like a meanie, exhausted, frustrated and so on. You also can check out a couple of books: "Happiest Baby On The Block" -Harvey Karp PhD; "How To Make Your Kid Mind Without Losing Yours" I think the author is Leach but I could be wrong. Do I think either method is better? NO. But we HAVE found things in each book that work for us. Good Luck and a hug to each of you!

43
0 2

As a Preschool Early educator Your idea is great

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1 8

We've taught our girls that if they need to be mad that's perfectly ok, but they need to take it to their room. We've talked about how its ok to go in their room and scream and cry and yell, or hit their pillow or stomp their feet. Then, when they've gotten all of their mad out they can come get a mommy or daddy hug and we can talk about their problem. It took a few months of taking them to their room every time they threw a tantrum, but now when a tantrum starts up they automatically run to their room. I think they feel better knowing they're allowed to get it all out, heaven knows I want to scream and yell sometimes!

20
0 1

i hand the a balloon--have them blow it up, marker a mad face on or whatever they want to draw on it and pop that angry balloon.... this way they can take some breaths, get out the frustration....there goes the angry faces...all of em!

12
1 4

Love that!!

25 3

I tell my 4y.o., that it's totally ok, to FEEL angry, and to SAY, "I'm angry," but, that it's NOT ok, to yell at me, or to throw/break things. He can even stomp his feet, if he feels the need, because that never hurt anyone. Pounding the daylights, out of a lump of playdough is another harmless release, lol.

I, too, will ask him, "Should we try to fix (whatever's wrong), or should we just scream/cry about it? What could we do (to make it right?)" That gets him thinking, rather than simply reacting. Still, he IS only just turning 4, this month, so, it's a learning process! Best of luck! :)

12
0 30

The head of our preschool gave us this priceless piece of parenting wisdom: the underlying root of all misbehavior is a sense of powerlessness. "I can't understand you when you're crying, but go ahead and cry and when you're done we'll try to fix it" is an effective response because it gives power back to the child, it also puts you on they're side. Parents so often fall into the trap of trying to impose their will on an already angry child, making the child feel more powerless and less heard, and puts the parent on an opposing side - which causes the child to spiral further out of control. Taking the child aside to patiently wait with them while they calm down helps diffuse the frustration and helps build a strong relationship of trust and support.

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27 33

With my 2 year old daughter, I've found it best yo simplify things when she is angry.
When she stats into a tantrum, I get down to her level, in her have and start repeating in a calm but lid voice things like "mad! Mad! Roz is very mad! Angry! Roz feels angry! Angry and mad!"
That usually gets her attention pretty well. She stats to calm down, and I start making them more complex and I get a little quieter. "upset. Roz is upset. The blocks keeps falling and it's making roz sad. Sad and upset."
Once I have her full attention, I get even quieter, and introduce a solution. "maybe roz can ahj for help and mommy can help build a tall tower"
Then I divert her attention and start playing with her. Sometimes I turn it into a mini lesson (it's ok to get frustrated, but the fun of building towers is knocking them down) and sometimes I just let out go and play.

3
3 32

When my 4 year old starts screaming and carrying on, I ask her if that's going to fix the problem or I start to scream along with her n she usually stops. After that I just ask my daughter to calm down and take a deep breath, then think about what's making her angry and how she can fix the problem. If it's not something she can fix then we sit and have a chat about it and cuddles

3
139 0

I tell my kids to take deep breaths, count to 10 and put their hands in their pockets...so they aren't tempted to hit anyone :)

2
99 48

Ok. Well. Usually children express themselves in this way, if they have seen other people express their frustrations in the same manner-i.e.: mother, father, brother, sister, etc. And all it takes, is ONE TIME. One moment......that's all it takes. One moment, where you lost your cool.....and they will remember it. And copy it.

So how do you change it? Well, look....I don't have a magic wand in my back pocket, ok? It's not gonna be THAT easy. :)

I think VERBAL communication should be suggested to your child as a way to relieve their frustrations. You would be teaching your child a DIFFERENT form of SELF-EXPRESSION and COMMUNICATION. They would also feel SELF-IMPORTANCE.....like what they have to say is important....and it is right.....RIGHT. Very much so. Have patience. Suggest your child calm down when heated, and when he/she is ready......ask him/her to explain "what they are feeling right now" and also ask your child, "what can I do, to help you feel better?" Then listen. Really listen.

They should also be held accountable if they express themselves in a physical way, that would be detrimental and/or harmful to other children. Show the negativity of that choice and then show a DIFFERENT and POSITIVE way to solve their frustrations. Don't forget to praise your child for making the RIGHT choice, once you've shown them how......!! :)

2
0 26

I tell my kids to put their anger in their feet and walk away. After they have had a chance to cool off, they should come back and resolve the issue. This way, it gives them a chance to think before they regret something they'll say. It also gives them an outlet to their emotions. I make sure they follow through with resolution though. It's important to work out your problems with other people, even if you just agree to disagree.

1
0 22

I tell my daughter to "use your words. I don't know why you are frustrated or what you want. You need to tell me how you feel or what you what." I explain, you don't see mommy screaming and throwing things when I'm frustrated. If you need to take a break, that is ok. Mommy needs a break sometimes, where is just want to be alone. It is ok to be frustrated, but not ok to hurt others, with our actions or our words." It can be very challenging to reason with a preschooler, especially in a divorced family. She often feels conflict between actions and feelings from my house, her dad's and his family, and school. MOST IMPORTANT! in whatever you do with your child or the child, be consistent.

1
8 8

Well, we are a VERY expressive bunch so I don't worry about my 4 year old son 'holding in' or internalizing his anger but I do try to teach him to use words, not actions, take a deep breath when he is really mad, and also take quiet time in his room after an outburst. Also when playing with friends, if there is a verbal or physical altercation, I encourage 'mini-breaks' aprt from one another so they can each regroup. And there is always distraction! I try to divert their attention to something else if I can, when an anger burst is budding.

1
0 14

As a mother of a 5 year old girl, a 4 year old boy and twin 3 year old boys, we have been tested on a regular basis as far as patience goes! With our daughter, we just ask her to remove herself and calm down before talking things over because our 3 boys see her throw monster fits and they just want to repeat what she is doing. See always comes back more calm and we talk things over calmly. NOW, with the 3 boys, things can really escalate quickly. It seems like if one is freaking out, they are all freaking out. We have yet to figure out the best way to resolve this issue. We've tried time outs but they just scream bloody murder and goof around with one another and piss each other off more. We've tried staying calm and trying to talk to them, but because we are outnumbered, they get even more frustrated. Any thoughts?

1
7 52

These are all great ideas! I only have to add ignore the tantrum when it begins like Jan said and no reaction goes a long way. Also take away favorite toys and take things like tv away from them. I like the feelings game and think I will use that Jan! I also make him go to the corner and take deep breaths and calm down and when enough time has passed usually 1-3 minutes come out, talk about it, have him apologize w/hugs and kisses. Thanks everyone!

1
664 13

When they are mad/upset/frustrated I have always taught my daughters to express what they are feeling with words. This is very helpful to the people around them and them. Everyone understands what they are feeling and they learn how to deal with the feelings they have.

Example " I feel upset/angry/frustrated because ...."

1
29 24

Oh my goodness! I am in the same boat right now!! My son is 2 1/2 and he is affirming himself constantly. I am beginning to be at my wits end. I am usually the patient and rational one but these days, I feel like I'm falling off a cliff. I'm beginning to think I have no idea what the heck I am doing! My son is a good boy, when he's good he's great, but when he's frustrated or angry, the whole world knows it. I tried to talk to him calmly, give him a warning and if he doesn't heed my words, put him in the naughty spot. He will be yelling and crying in that naughty spot to get our attention but I never give in. He's there for 2 min and always does his time but he lets us know that he is extremely angry. My son understands 3 languages but doesn't seem to be able to communicate properly in neither language. I assume this he is so frustrated and I get that but I am trying to find a way to teach him that it's not right to yell at mommy, daddy or anyone else for that matter by being consistent with his naughty spot because of his naughty behaviour. As soon as I tell him no, he'll just get all riled up and start throwing a tantrum. I'm at the end of my rope with him! What am I to do? Any advice out there? Please tell me this is just a phase! PLEASE.

1
9 20

Well one thing that works for my daughter actually came fro one of her tv shows on the network Nick Jr. which they promo as preschool on tv. which it really is. on NI Hao Kai Lan they practice 1, 2 , 3 breathe to calm down and that really helps my daughter sometimes. another when she's really upset is no matter how much of a meltdown she has is to remain utterly calm myself and get her to talk.

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23 0

My boys are now 5 and 8 and are slowly learning that it is not okay to scream and holding their breaths or trying to hit one another. When they run to me they are asked if it is a child problem or does an adult need to step in. The 8 year old knows he must walk away when he is angry and goes to his room or outside and plays away from the 5 year old. The 5 year old will still come to me most of the time angry and crying but his is starting to know he must go the couch and take some big breaths and think about the situation and usually I get told everything that is on his mind. They both know walking away and taking deep breaths do help. I can see a big difference in the last year how they are responding to anger. They still have a way to go but they are improving with each situation.

0
112 39

I tell my son that its okay to feel angry and to even punch a pillow if he needs because from time to time we all get angry but it would not be okay to hit or throw things and for the most he doesn't engage in those behaviors. For awhile he would come up to me and say "I am angry" and we even had a feelings chart for all members of the family daily to record how we were all feeling,.

0
9 6

my daughter is 2 1/2 and she gets frusterated or angry quite a bit especially when she doesnt get her own way. when this happens i simply ask her to go to her room until she has calmed down and is ready to talk. when she comes out of her room i ask her if she has calmed down and is ready to come out and if she is rude or says no then i ask her to go back until she is ready. this usually happens a few times until she says yes she is ready politly and then she comes down. she tend to get frustrated with other kids when they try to take something from her and tries to bite them. she hasnt been doing it as much lately but when she does i stop her and tell her when she is mad she needs to use her words to ask them to stop.

0
14 15

At 2 1/2, I brought a feelings book, which helped my son know feelings and pretend them. At 3, he was lashing out in anger, and we taught him to "walk away at the first sign of his anger, and go tell mummy/teacher that he was angery and he needed help" This seems to have worked, for now when he is angry with his little brother, he just walks to his room

0
2 5

When my child gets angry, we talk about it. I ask him to take deep breaths and explain what made him angry then look for other ways that he could solve the issue that does not include anger. He ususally finds his answer right away, but at that age of 5, they are quick to anger.

0
7 6

I have them move from the situation, take a breath and even sometimes count anf if it's still worth being mad about we will find a solution together. Usually they move on to something else.

0
1 35

I had always had my kids go to their rooms and let out there anger now theirin their teens, but with my 4yr old sometimes he goes to his room and other times we do together what we call a shrek scream (only when we r home or outside) then we express why we are anger and what we can do to get our selfs happy again and we ask other people in the house for ideas. That usually gets him calmed down and he finds out why hes mad, what makes him mad, and how to fix it the right way.

0
3 8

I find this to be a very interesting process. Of course as most parents we are teaching our boys, 5 and 2 to control their anger by doing all the rational things we have learned work well. Sounds good? Well I wish it was that easy. I have been repeating myself like a broken record and it seems like their very bad temper keeps getting the best of them. They have very little self control and no matter how many times we tell them not to used their bodies, hands , feet , objects to solve their problems. They keep doing it. Time outs, toys away, leaving the park, etc are just a few of the consequences. We are going on almost 5 years and I wish I knew how to tackle this issue more efficiently. My husband and I both have horrible tempers ourselves and like they say I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Maybe this is our Karma to be embarrassed in public and ashamed of our kids behaviors. I am an educator and have taking many courses on the matter and although i have seen tremendous improvement with my 5 year old we are far from having our 2 year old control his temper. COnsistency with consequences, being a good rolled model when you get angry and following through seemed to be the things we do at our house, but I can not say it is working well.

0
33 2

If you both have bad tempers then the kids will learn by example. I know, I have trouble with this myself. I am trying to tell the kids mommy is mad now I need some time to calm down, count to 10, take deep breaths and then demonstrate the concepts you are trying to teach the kids. Then after I calm down I explain what I did to calm myself. It is not easy, but if we are not able to do it ourselves, how can we expect a 5 year old. I will also say when I pick them up from daycare, who wants to have fun today? Of course everybody cheers. Then I point out that we have a lot more fun when we respect each other and don't yell. Let us all try and play nicely with each other so we can have fun until supper. I try to emphasize that if they respect me, I will respect them and try not to yell and have temper tantrums too.

1 24

We have 2 boys ages 5 and 2 and we are still trying to teach them that if they have a problem or something is bothering them to talk to an adult (Mommy or Daddy or Grandma etc..) both of our boys have been taught never to use their hands or feet to fix a problem as this hurts people. This is still a work in progress as they still need reminders but seems to be working slowly.

0
6 3

I would love to know... nothing seems to stick with my girl (age 5 next weekend). I have tried reasoning with her, speaking in low tunes, singing songs, yelling back, and just ignoring her. Regardless, when she gets angry, she throws tantrums. Sometimes kicking and screaming tantrums. Awful and frustrating. When she calms down, I talk to her rationally about the behavior and ask her how we could have better communicated. She always agrees that the behavior is ugly and that mean girls don't get nice things... but then returns to the behavior as soon as her temper flares. It is exhausting.

0
3 32

does anyone reinforce her behaviour? i know my partner and his mother both used to just give in to my daughter when she threw tantrums to keep her quiet until i had a firm word with both of them about how hard they made things for me during the times they weren't there. If all members of your family chat to her about how tantrums upset u and make her look nasty and that it's naughty to throw tantrums instead of just talking to u - she'll get the message quicker, i think

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