Tips for Helping Children Manage Anger

Dr. Anthony Marchlewski, Bellin Health Psychiatric Center-Clinical Services

Anger in children can be among the most challenging emotions parents have to address. I often advise parents of methods to help teach children to effectively manage anger.

Anger is a normal, intense feeling of displeasure typically resulting from a perceived wrong. Most adults through the years have developed an internal mechanism through which they are able to properly and constructively process and manage anger. Children, however, having younger, undeveloped minds and lacking the maturity of adults, process and manage anger quite differently.

Children often express anger due to frustrations over things they cannot express or situations they cannot navigate. In fact, tantrums in children age 2 to 4 are actually a normal and part of a child’s development.

Children may also show anger when they need attention, feel powerless or helpless, are embarrassed or made fun of, are not having their physical needs addressed, are being punished, or for a host of other reasons. 

As children grow older, parents can help adolescents and teens calm down and manage anger by engaging in an activity to help release angry energy. Some activities known to help include:

  • Playing sports (basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, rollerblading, etc.)
  • Riding a bike
  • Going for a walk or run
  • Working in a garden
  • Cutting the grass
  • Cleaning a designated part of the house
  • Washing the car
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Reading a book, novel, magazine, etc.
  • Listening to calm music
  • Having the child journal about his or her feelings and the situation
  • Writing poetry, stories or songs
  • Writing a letter to the person with whom you are angry with
  • Drawing or paint
  • Positive self talk
  • Using relaxation techniques like deep breathing, imagery, meditation
  • Taking a bubble bath or shower
  • Saying a prayer and ask your higher power for help

These are just a few suggestions. Each parent must determine what works best for their child and seek professional guidance should the child’s anger issues seem unusually frequent, intense and extremely out of the ordinary.

Disclaimer: The preceding information is meant only to inform and should never displace professional consultation.


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