Anger seems like such a normal emotion for all of us to feel. It is an emotion by which we express our displeasure either towards a particular thing, person or situation. Anger can prove to be a healthy emotion when the felling is moderate, but when our anger drives us into losing control of our faculties, that is when we need to look back and take the reins of our emotions back into our hands.
Anger is an intense emotional response. It is an emotion that involves a strong uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat. Anger can occur when a person feels their personal boundaries are being or going to be violated. Some have a learned tendency to react to anger through retaliation as a way of coping.
Anger is felt by everyone, no matter your age, sex, gender, religion or nationality, it is one of the basic human emotion. Children are also adept at expressing their anger. When this anger in children gets beyond control and increases in frequency, is when we need to take measures to rectify it.
First, it is important to understand that children don't want to attack others. They'd much rather have fun and feel safe and loved. They play well when they feel connected. But when children lose their sense of connection, they feel tense, frightened, or isolated. In this ‘emotional emergency’ they may lash out at other children. Children don't intend to be mean. In fact, acts of aggression aren't under the child’s control. A baby does not initially possess the faculties to converse verbally so they may respond aggressively by grabbing, hitting, biting and pushing.
The reasons for our increasing rage in today's generation are, twofold; on the one hand our expectations have risen steadily and on the other hand, so have our stress levels. There is constant dissatisfaction with what we have and we crave for things which we do not have. We believe that world needs to be fair to us and we need to get good services as a customer. Food not cooked to perfection? Someone eating popcorn noisily in the cinema? We have the right to get annoyed and demand redress - immediately!
Increasing anger in children can be attributed to video games, cartoons which have violent content, they may be also learning to get angry by observing people close to them and most often parents.
Helping your child in controlling their anger:
1. Know and understand your child
The initial step towards helping your child is to understand them. Many times we may get to carried away by the situation at hand and not try to reflect upon the cause of the problem. In the same way, if you observe that your child seems to be getting angry often, then there must be a reason behind it. Make an attempt to understand your child and understand their emotions, feelings and thought processes for being angry.
2. Talk to your child
It is important to talk to your child. Without communication, there can always be certain assumptions which won't help either you or your child. It is essential that you make your child understand that they are important to you and what they feel and go through is also important. Actively listen to what your child says without contesting them. Once the child notices your involvement and trusts you, he will speak to you.
3. Set rules and limits
The child needs to know that there are certain behaviours that are acceptable and some that are not. This distinction between what is acceptable and what is not is something that you need to teach your child. It is advisable that if you see your child behaving aggressively like hitting, kicking or biting, he should be reprimanded immediately so he knows where he is going wrong.
4. Collaborate with your child in dealing with their anger
Teaching your child how to deal with their anger is something that you need to do in collaboration. If there are certain activities or techniques that you would like your child to adapt to, then you demonstrate it to them and practice with them.
5. Avoid encouraging aggression
Boys are always told that they need to be tough, they should not cry, they should not show their feelings, they should not behave like girls and much more. When we put such restrictions on our children at a young age, they may never learn to deal with their emotions, and when there comes a time wherein they have to deal with these emotions they may become overwhelmed and act aggressively.
6. Refrain from raising a hand on your child
Many times we as adults lose our patience and may raise a hand on our children. It is understandable that every individual has a tolerance level but hitting your child even in certain circumstances should be avoided. The child may think that by physical violence the matter can be resolved and this will again push them towards behaving aggressively.
7. Keep your temper in check
Practice what you preach, it may sound like a cliche but it is absolutely true and should be applied as well. It wouldn't be right if you tell your child not to behave in an aggressive manner while doing so yourself, the child may not listen to you and still continue to behave aggressively. So it is important that when you feel that your emotions may overwhelm you, then use the techniques you teach your child. If you apply these to your life, your child will learn from your experience.
8. Seek help
If you find that despite you and your child putting in efforts, their aggression has not reduced and if you find that these techniques are not helping your child, then seek professional help. Visiting a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist will help, they will help your child calm down and teach you ways to deal with your child. Anger can be a symptom of underlying Depression or Anxiety which requires treatment.
Aggression only moves in one direction– it creates more aggression – Margaret J. Wheatley. It is our prerogative as not only parents but as adults who in many ways influence the lives of the children around us to be more careful, to keep our eyes open and observe. It is only when we take certain steps to rectify the child’s behaviour and try to understand them will they accept our hand of help and help themselves.