Anger Management in Children - An Active Approach

Anger management in children is do-able? Most parents know that when an infant cries it is a way they communicate. Babies may feel uncomfortable, hungry, in pain, frightened, lonely, or have an upset stomach, and they are trying to tell you about that in their typical way.

Babies and anger management don´t mix. However you probably know that there is a lot of anger and frustration present when their needs are not being met.

Later on, it is not unusual to see toddlers throwing temper tantrums over seemingly non important things. Some parents try ignore this stage entirely. Other parents attempt to control this unwanted behavior with a strong authoritarian response.

Neither of these approaches work particularly well because toddlers are using the communication skills they have learned and manage at their age and within their level of development.

Small children know that they were able to get what they needed by crying when they were babies. However, toddlers can display much more anger in their attempts to communication, especially when they are not accomplishing what they desire.

Many times, these are the only skills a small child has developed as they try to negotiate a favored outcome. At this point they may not have learned anything else, and if that is not remedied the behaviors may intensify and even become a personality trait.

Entire specialty departments have been developed in the areas of psychology and psychiatry as humans try to better understand and create methods of anger management in children and adults.

It seems that most societies have determined that there is no place in civilization for the uncontrolled expression of anger. Many seem to feel that anger must be subdued or banished altogether. On the other hand, since no one has found a way to eliminate it entirely, many believe that it has to be recognized and managed.

To some this makes perfect sense because when anger is not dealt with, it can escalate to the point that sometimes rage and violence can occur. No civilized society wishes to have angry people running around with malicious intent on their minds.

The result has been that numerous cultures have determined that in order to prevent having angry adults later in life it is important to develop an active approach for anger management in children.

Traditional Anger Treatment

There are a couple of common strategies being used for stress relief and anger management in children.

Those approaches are often getting kids involved in team sports as an outlet for their aggressions, or even administrating them certain prescription drugs so that the anger is out of sight.

Other methods have also been getting kids involved with individual or group counseling sessions, restricting the use of certain foods additives and sugar in general.

In some individual anger therapy, children are encouraged to express their anger by taking it out, beating pillows with their fists. But, are these tactics beneficial?

Even though a traditional approach to anger management in children has often been of the quick fix variety such as certain prescription drugs, they may only be masking the real problem.

Likewise, forcing team sports as the fix-for-all may not be in the best interest of a child who has more contemplative nature. This could easily lead to more internalized anger and frustration when educational force is used blindly.

Alternative Anger Management

Many believe that a more holistic approach should be tried. That in turn would lead to fewer side effects which are generally associated with prescribed drugs.

Stepping back and taking a better look at the subjective reasons behind a child’s anger may also be helpful. What if they really feel lonely, hungry, or uncomfortable?

That more holistic approach may give us the answers we are looking for instead of working with the quick fix approaches of the past.

As parents and society we should ask if it is more important to manage their behavior or should we be looking for ways to help them to self-manage their feelings by providing them with tools and skills for better insight and communication?

There are many reasons why anger management in children is important. Helping them to live happier, healthier and more productive lives are important aspects to invest in.

Understanding where that anger comes from is critical if we are ever going to be able to deal with it as young people or adults.

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