Three Questions About Anger Management for Young Children

April 11, 2008 at 11:50 am  •  Posted in Early Childhood Development by  •  0 Comments

By Tara Moser, MSW, LCSW


Ms. Tara Moser specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Central Florida and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Florida . Ms. Moser also specializes in Play Therapy with children 3 -18 years old, as well as incorporates pet therapy into some of her clinical work utilizing her two dogs Abbey and Bode. She is one of the founding members of the Southwest Florida/Naples Play Therapy Chapter, after serving as an officer on the Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Association of Play Therapy.

Ms. Moser has worked in a variety of therapeutic roles including foster care, non-profit family counseling, non-profit individual counseling, elementary school based counseling programs, adolescent drug prevention/intervention, behavioral therapy with autism, domestic violence counseling, and supervised visitation, in addition to her private practice.

Q. How do I help my child identify their anger?

Teaching children to identify their anger involves teaching them how to identify all feelings that they have. It is important to be sure your child can understand the difference in feeling happy, sad, worried, scared, angry, and many other feelings we all experience throughout our lives. It is also important to let your child know that all those feelings are natural to experience as long as they know what they feel and show it appropriately. If your child learns to show their anger properly and in a controlled manner, it can be a good way for them to express something that has upset them. If they do not learn this, they can hurt themselves or others both physically or emotionally.

A good way to find out your child’s ability to identify feelings is ask them to think of a time they were angry and describe what their body was doing. Did their face turn red? Did their breathing change? Did their muscles tighten? Did they want to cry? Scream? Run? By being aware of their physical reactions, it can help them to connect the feeling.

Q. What can I teach my child to help soothe their anger?

Teaching different types of anger management techniques to your child will help you and your child best identify what means are most helpful for them to release their anger. Some ideas would be to teach them to walk away from the trigger, use words instead of fists or feet, go for a run, take deep breaths, punch their pillow, use an angry ball, turn music up loud and sing along loudly, or count to 10. There are fun ways to prepare a child who has trouble with their anger to control it prior to an anger episode. Creating angry balls can be fun for families to do and all you need are inflatable balloons and then the filling of dry rice, dry beans, or sand. You then fill the balloon so it is slightly expanded and tie it off. The angry ball can be squeezed, thrown on the floor, mashed between palms or under foot. A fun way to teach deep breathing is through bubble blowing. By showing your child that you have to blow out slowly to create the best bubbles instead of quick blowing shows them that when they are angry they need to be aware of their breaths.

Q. Why does one of my children react one way to anger and the other react completely different?

Every person reacts differently to their feelings and anger is one of those feelings that this difference can be seen more prominently. It is important to teach each of your children different techniques so that they may decide what works best. It is recommended that you are aware of each child’s unique processing of anger to know what they may need. If you notice they become so out of focus from their anger, it is important you be able to calmly provide them those options.

To find a social worker in your area who can help you with issues like these, please click here.

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