Anger is a natural emotion, but parents and children need to find ways to handle this emotion in constructive ways. Children express anger for many reasons, especially towards their own parents, and sometimes even learn those behaviors from their parents. It is not always easy, but parents must work to find positive ways to deal with negative emotions, benefiting the child, parents, and entire family as well.
Children display anger and hostility for reasons such as requirements of household chores and homework, or disagreements with friends, and family responsibilities and disputes. Angry emotions can be shown by yelling, door slamming, disrespectful speech, and defiant behaviors. While the emotions of anger and resentment are natural, especially during adolescence, parents should be careful to watch for patterns of destructive behaviors that are rooted in anger, and be prepared to find ways to resolve them.
One of the first places parents should look when dealing with angry children is at themselves and how they deal with stressful situations and anger. When parents react to anxiety with angry outbursts or lose their tempers easily, they are more likely to raise children who display the same angry behaviors and reactions as well. For parents who find that their own actions are perhaps contributing to the reactions of their children, there are several ways they can work to improve their own coping skills that will benefit their relationships with their children and others. Parents can try to incorporate a cool down period when they are feeling stressed where they leave the stressful situation for a short amount of time in order to cool off and seek positive ways to deal with the situation, or at least gain some perspective. Some parents find that counseling services benefit them and their abilities to handle anger, and perhaps find the causes for those feelings, which in turn leads to finding positive and proactive actions.
Even in the calmest of households, there will eventually be children who have to learn to cope with anger and the negative actions it can evoke. Anger and resentment can be normal parts of childhood development and navigating through the confusion that is a part of adolescence. Children often go through phases, including ones where they are egocentric and highly focused on their own needs. This self-centered line of thinking is not a good match for parents who are trying to positively influence their children’s behaviors, as children often see any outside influence as negative. Parents should remember that children, especially during the teenage years, struggle to find their own paths and they often see parents as obstacles to those paths and plans for independence, instead of guides along the way.
Parenting involves many skills, not the least of which is paying attention to the emotional triggers of children and finding ways to reduce stress and improve positive reactions. Children truly do benefit from consistent parenting techniques and the consequences that are mandates for disrespectful and inappropriate behaviors, including dealing with anger in overtly negative ways. Parents should strive to teach positive ways to deal with negative emotions, and this can begin with their own behaviors, which are then modeled in their children.
Your friend and fellow parent,
Parenting Coach, Author & Speaker
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