Anger Issues with Your Child

April 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Ask Dr. Vicki, Discipline

Share |

Anger Issues with children

Dear Dr. Vicki,

I have an 11 year old daughter and am trying to help her with “anger management”. So far we have been doing better with talking about it, and (she’s) counting to 10, taking deep breathes, walking away. . . .and I have tried to be calm in responding and then I “ignore” any junk behavior. Then I go on to a “normal” question and she seems to fall back into “normal” getting along. She does not want to be at odds with me. Thanks for any input.

Dr. Vicki’s Response:

It sounds as though you are doing a lot of great interventions to help your daughter get control of her anger. Anger is a tough feeling to express for kids, primarily because they seem to get in trouble a lot for how they express those feelings.

It is wonderful that she does not want to be at odds with you. That’s a great place to start from.

Responding calmly is key. If you become angry and respond in kind, the situation will tend to flare up even more. Encouraging her to come back and talk to you when she calms down is a great strategy. When she does, I suggest that you praise her for using whatever technique she used to calm herself, and let her know that you are more than happy to talk to her now that she is calm.

The strategies you suggested to her are good ones. It is very important that while parents are telling children what they can’t do, they need to help them replace those behaviors with acceptable ones. You might try practicing some of the techniques with her when she is not angry, so they will be better developed for when she needs them.

I also encourage children to come up with their own ways of expressing their anger. At this age, some like to journal or draw (remember it can be angry words and angry pictures), write a letter or e-mail to express themselves (although direct communication is ultimately best), listening to music, cool off in the shower, take a walk, etc. I also like to teach them progressive relaxation, where they learn to tense and relax their bodies and also visual imaging, where a very calming or happy image is conjured up in their mind, allowing that feeling to spread over them.

This would be a technique that you and your daughter could learn to do fairly easily, with some individualized instruction.

Another nice technique is to allow her to walk away to take time to calm herself down. I don’t mean in defiance; I mean with an agreement that she is allowed to do so. I like a signal that either of you can give the other that would indicated ‘time out’–let’s take a break, calm down, and get back together again and talk.

© MMVI Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D.


4 Responses to “Anger Issues with Your Child”
  1. Kyle Griffin says:

    my best friend has been in an Anger Management class for 2 months now, he improved a lot when dealing with anger.-~,

  2. Dr. Vicki Panaccione says:

    That’s great! There are several different ways to approach dealing with anger. Certainly, one is to attend classes that teach skills and coping strategies for responding to angry feelings. The other area that I think is extremely important is to take a look at where those angry feelings are coming from in the first place. When you have an emotional response, it’s never about the other person or event. It’s always about how you are defining the situation based on your unconscious conditioning and what my co-author, Blair Singer, calls your Little Voice. We are working on a book to be released in the fall, called “Little Voice Mastery for Parents…How to get control of yours so your kids have a chance.” It will be dealing with the very issue that your friend might want to look into. You can learn techniques to deal with the anger, and/or you can become aware of your unconscious conditioning and how your Little Voice rules you, until you learn how to rule it! Thank you for sharing; congratulations to your friend.

  3. Oliver Jones says:

    Anger Management is necessary to prevent raging men in the streets.;~.

  4. Gel Fuel says:

    for those of us who cannot control anger, i think that anger management should be a reuirement to have a quality life “`: