Tips for Handling Anger
What Should Parents Do When a Child Has a Temper Tantrum?
Accept your child’s anger. Let your child know it is OK for him to feel angry, but let him know that having such feelings is different from expressing them inappropriately. Make sure your child knows you are there to help him with the problem when he is ready. If the anger is being expressed in inappropriate ways, suggest other ways the child can express his feelings.
Teach a child how to express anger with words. Talking is a good way to get rid of feelings of anger and frustration. When your child becomes worked up, encourage her to use her words rather than hitting, grabbing, or using some other physical action.
Respond to temper tantrums with care and concern. When your child resorts to a tantrum to express his needs, your response is critical. This is the time your child needs you most. He needs you to remain calm (not an easy thing to do), he needs to be comforted, and he needs your help to regain control. Some strategies include:
- Ignore the tantrum if you can.
- Use a time out to give your child a chance to calm down.
- Take a time out yourself.
- Remove your child from the situation.
- Hold your child closely. This can be especially effective for younger children.
- Talk softly to your child.
- Try to figure out what your child wants and needs.
- Help your child find other ways to express his needs.
Avoid physical punishment. Hitting or spanking a child for acting aggressive or doing something wrong is guaranteed to backfire. Avoid demonstrating behavior you don’t want your child to imitate.
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