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We all have it. Our kids have it too. Anger – what an emotion!

Sometimes it comes on quickly and leaves quickly. Sometimes it boils for a long time. But no matter how it shows up, it’s a tricky feeling. So today we are looking at tips for caregivers on navigating anger.

What is Anger?

Commonly categorized as a “bad” or “aggressive” feeling that children “shouldn’t have!” Anger is a negative feeling typically associated with hostile thoughts. Some outward signs can include: screaming, hitting, kicking, running away, ignoring, blowing up, destruction and more. We’ve all seen it in kids, but …

What Might Be Behind the Anger?

Take a deep breath. Notice what comes to mind when I ask you this question, “Remember the last time your child got really angry. What happens?” You may feel hot, tense, have neck pain, maybe feel “out of control”? What are some things you can do?

  1. As the caregiver you should take a deep breath to center yourself.
  2. Name what you see – don’t ask the child questions. Respond empathically at first. Don’t always try to “problem solve” first. “I see your fists are full of feeling. Let’s let that feeling punch this pillow or throw this ball or squeeze the play-dough.”
  3. Explore what “anger” might need – read the book Grumpy Monkey. Sometimes anger needs space, or hugs, or a bath, or to burn energy.

After the anger slows down – revisit and problem solve.

Read books when kids aren’t angry that talk about anger and help them think about helpful options.

Plan for “practicing” asking for help or having a secret signal that shares a need for help like an ear pull or nose tap.

Anger is a tough feeling but there is help in resourcing yourself for your child’s big emotions.

Remember, don’t parent alone.


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Susan Stutzman

Susan Stutzman

Owner | Child Therapist | LCPC, RPT

Parenting is hard! But you don’t have to do it alone. I work with children and parents to resolve emotional conflict, cultivate healing, and nurture hope.

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