Everyone is familiar with the devastating situations in which children have killed other children as an expression of their extreme anger with being treated badly and being humiliated. While it is imperative that bullies and cruel social behaviors be dealt with, it is also important that children be taught how to appropriately express feelings of anger. Learning how to effectively problem-solve and deal with difficult emotions is a preventive measure for positive mental health and preventing violent behavior. Young people turn to violence when they don’t see other ways of managing difficult situations. They may be reacting to the moment without anticipating the consequences of their actions. The following tips can help a child to learn internal management , use of resources, and self-responsibility.
- Be a good listener. Pay attention to what your children are saying about what they feel and how they are thinking about things in their life. Unfortunately, children are confronted at an earlier age about more adult-oriented issues such as relationships , sex, and romanticizing. Failure and rejection are also difficult issues to deal with. Young people are not prepared mentally or physically to effectively manage many of these issues and can find themselves overwhelmed and in trouble.
- Be comforting and reassuring. Tell your children that you care about what they think and feel. Show confidence in them by helping them to explore their choices for managing the issues confronting them.
- Normalize the experience of anger. Everyone gets angry. Share the positive ways that you have found to deal with anger and other difficult emotions.
- Encourage children to express their feeling honestly and appropriately and then to move on to fun and interesting activities . Distracting oneself with other activities helps to refocus on other things and not get stuck and miserable with anger.
- Teach problem–solving and conflict resolution skills. Give your children some ideas about how to deal with difficult situations and encourage them to talk about what they try to do in those situations, what works, what doesn’t, and what they may do next time they are confronted with a similar situation.
- Catch them being good. It is always important to reinforce good behavior by acknowledging i When your children deal with their anger in positive ways, reinforce their positive choices. Use every opportunity to build and reinforce strengths and skills.
If you do not feel that your efforts are successful, talk to a professional about community resources (such as anger management classes) and therapy or click here for more information.