Rules to Deal with an Angry Child
If you are a parent of a preschooler there are enough and more times you would have had to deal with an angry child. Especially since this is a phase when they are exploring their individuality and sometimes not getting their way around it, anger is a normal emotion. What is important, therefore, is how you deal with it. That more than anything else, is what will determine whether you will have relative peace or shouting matches around the house. Read on for effective ways to deal with an angry child.
Don’t give in to yelling
Difficult as it may sound, refrain from giving in to the temptation of matching the child’s decibel levels. Screaming at the child or challenging him when he is angry will achieve precious little. Remember that if your purpose is to get the message across that he shouldn’t do things a particular way, the chances of getting that message across in his heightened state is abysmally low. Instead, remain calm and speak to the child at an opportune time when he has calmed down enough to be able to understand what you have to say. By staying calm, you are also passing a subliminal message to the child that crisis isn’t handled by losing your cool.
Offer suggestions for the child to calm down
Instead of getting into a shouting match, make suggestions around how the child can calm himself down. “Maybe you can go into your room and calm yourself a bit and come out and join us when you are feeling better” can be a good way to help the child to calm down. What you are doing in the process is also harping on the importance of self-reflection without making timeout seem like a punishment.
Do not give in to unreasonable demands
It may be embarrassing if the child starts to throw a temper tantrum in the middle of a mall when you have refused to buy him or her something. It may also be tempting to give in to the demand out of embarrassment. Remember though that by doing so you are reinforcing the behavior and those temper tantrums will become the order of the day whenever the child does not get his way. Do think carefully about your response and have made a reasonable decision, stick to it.
The important thing is to lead the child towards constructive problem solving rather than manifest their frustrations with the issue into bad behavior. Do analyze the situation and give constructive solutions. So, if the child’s anger emanated from the younger sibling breaking his Lego tower, help with seeing how you can move the child’s toys out of the toddler’s reach. It would also help to discuss with the child (when he is calm of course) how he added to the problem by angrily throwing the blocks after the tower was broken.
Ensure that consequences are offered for bad behavior and not for the anger
Positive parenting demands that the message that the child gets from you is not that anger isn’t acceptable as an emotion. It is the bad behavior that anger may manifest as, that isn’t acceptable. Even when you are punishing the child for the bad behavior ensure that the punishment is appropriate and not overly harsh. Sometimes you may resort to “consequence stacking” in the heat of the moment which may be hard to execute and/or can worsen the child’s behavior. Ensure therefore that the consequences are well thought out, executable and appropriate to the situation.
Role model responses when you are angry
The biggest lesson in anger management comes from your own responses. Remember therefore not to use your anger as an opportunity to get into a slinging match. Instead, say things like” I am going to wait till I feel calm.” If you do land up with an inappropriate response, do remember to apologize. The thumb rule in dealing with angry children has to be that whatever action we take, it has to emanate from a position of coaching them and not punishing them. Above everything we need to be able to impart the right coping strategies that will stand them in good stead