I make a lot of parenting mistakes, but one thing I'm proud of is arming my kids with positive anger management skills. Since learning to manage my own anger was a battle, I wanted my kids to learn these skills early.
When kids cannot manage their anger, they can grow up to face big problems later in life. It is important for them to learn how to process negative emotions in suitable ways. Teaching them positive anger management skills at an early age will give them the tools to regulate their emotions as they get older.
Positive Anger Management Skills for Kids
Taking deep breaths is a great way to get them to relax. Being angry is alright, but letting the feeling take over can lead to unwanted behaviors. By practicing deep breathing, it gives them a chance to calm down before they act.
Counting is another great way to stop them from acting impulsively. They need a chance to process their emotions and doing so will hopefully prevent lashing out.
Give them a pen and paper, if they are old enough to write, and have them write down what they are feeling when they are angry. If they are at a pre-writing age, ask them to describe it and you write it down for them. They can also write down times that they get angry to learn ways to deal with these triggers.
If your child responds well to touch, hugging it out is a perfect way to calm down your angry child. It gives them proprioceptive input that has a relaxing effect.
Practicing yoga has been shown to help relieve stress and anxiety. When their feelings start to bubble up, give them a space to practice a few calming positions while deep breathing. Yoga also sends information to the proprioceptive system.
The opposite might help as well. Let them work out the built up energy by doing something vigorous like jumping jacks or punching a pillow.
Calm down jars have been shown to be quite effective in younger children. There is something mesmerizing about the swirling glitter and objects that instantly makes them forget they are upset. Soon they will have calmed down enough to talk to them about why they were so angry.
What You Can Do to Help
As a parent, there are things that you can say to your child when they are angry to help calm their anger without simply saying, “please calm down.” Would you like it if someone said that to you when you were angry?
Even though you might find what they are irritated over is insignificant, put yourself in their shoes. They feel they have a valid reason for being upset and need their feelings to be validated.
By saying phrases such as “I see that you are upset”, “it’s okay to be angry”, or “would you like my help?” you let them know that you are there for them and are not disregarding how they feel.
Which strategy you use will depend on the level of their anger. That pen and paper might get launched across the room if they are having a full-on tantrum. Discuss the different strategies with them while they are calm to help them learn ways to keep from getting really angry. By practicing these strategies, you can give your child the opportunity to see which ones are most effective for them.
More Anger Management Resources
One of the best ways to help your kids develop positive anger management skills is to model them. Below are some of my favorite resources from fellow parenting bloggers and parenting experts to help you be the best parent you can be.
- Building a Heart of Appreciation Family Bundle – Learn to do better for each other as a family.
- The Happy Mom Book Bundle – Learn how to stop yelling and build a happier life!
- Parenting with Positive Guidance Course – Learn to parent confidently, authentically, powerfully, and postivitely.