Guiding Young Children's Expressions of Anger

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Angry child's eye stares.Parents can help young children deal with anger by guiding their understanding and management of this emotion. As a result, children will be more likely to deal with their angry feelings directly and non-aggressively. Here are some strategies:

  • Model responsible anger management.
    Adults should acknowledge, accept and take responsibility for their own angry feelings and express anger in direct and non-aggressive ways.
  • Use books and stories about anger.
    Well presented books and stories about anger validate children’s feelings and provide information they can learn from.
  • Create a safe emotional climate.
    A healthy setting permits children to acknowledge all feelings, whether pleasant or unpleasant.
  • Encourage children to talk about anger arousing interactions. Preschool children better understand anger and other emotions when adults explain emotions.
  • Encourage children to label angry feelings.
    Parents can help young children by teaching them that they can use a word to describe their angry feelings. Create a book or a chart that lists different labels for anger (e.g., mad, irritated, annoyed) so that your family can refer to it when discussing angry feelings.
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