Anger is natural. But the sounds of door slamming, stomping feet and the “I HATE YOU!” do hurt parents.
Many are surprised that there can be so much anger in a child. It’s also very tempting to shout back a stinging reply but it’s something that no adults should do. This is because, at that moment, your child is already feeling that he or she is against the world on their own.
Maybe you have said something in reply that wasn’t helpful and you feel guilty. It’s ok. You’ll do better the next time. It is important to stay calm when you’re faced with an angry child because it’ll help the child calm down (after they release their anger or act out).
To be prepared, have a look through this list of powerful phrases that are proven to calm an angry child:
1. I love you
It’s important to remind your angry child that you still love them. That no matter how hurtful the words coming from them are that you’ll still love them. This phrase should be repeated in a calm manner as many times your child will hear you.
2. I see that you’re upset
Or “I know that you’re upset.” Letting the child know you can actually see their anger helps them become aware of what’s happening to their body when they are angry. This allows you to talk to your child without trying to solve the problem immediately.
3. It is ok to be angry
Preventing them from being angry invalidates their feelings and does not solve the issue at hand. The child is clearly upset about something and is showing you, a trusted adult. You may not understand their rage but right now, it doesn’t matter. They just need you to be there as they work it out.
4. Offer to be hugged
Sometimes all they need is a hug first. Keep in mind there are times where they’ll refuse any form of touch at the height of their anger so it’s best to wait it out a bit before asking.
5. Would you like my help?
Providing the child some choices lets them have some of their own control of the situation. This also increases the probability of them accepting help from the adult.
6. I wonder if…
Sometimes there’s no good reason why the child is angry and they don’t know the reason as well. Help them by giving some ideas such as “I wonder if you need to eat something. I wonder if you could use a nap. I wonder if you need a hug.”
7. I am going to…
When a child is screaming or stomping, they are often looking for your reaction. It’s important to remain calm to create a calm environment. Let the child know your moves and plans so they know what’s happening next.
“I am going to wait over here until you are ready.”
“If you’re ready for a hug, I’ll be waiting in the living room.”
“I am going to move closer to you so you know where I am.”
“I am going to wait in the hall until you finish screaming.”
8. It is not okay to…
It is important to set limits and be consistent so they know where you draw the line. Yes, they can show these big emotions and you’ll still love them but it’s not ok to hurt someone else by hitting.
Loving an angry child is tough because it’s exhausting for both parties but it’s important for both sides to learn how to manage this strong feeling.
Feature image from Manhattan Psychology Group