Helping Kids With Anger Management
Kristina Campos, the founder of The Impactful Parent, talks to parents about helping their children control their big emotions and specifically, how to get kids to control their temper. 2 Free resources included in the video to help with implementation.
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Helping Kids With Anger Management
“What the heck just happened?” I say to myself because I am shocked that my child just took one of my simple requests to start their homework, the same as I do every day when they get home, and my child just blew up at me.
“Why won’t you just leave me alone already?!?!” my child yelled at me, along with some other choice words. My kid threw down their backpack and stormed up the stairs stomping without even looking at me. By that reaction, you would have thought that I asked them to clean the bathroom or had just given them a 20-minute lecture. What was going on?
Has this happened to you? Does your child overreact with anger, and you don’t know what you did to set them off? Or maybe they get angry daily, and you don’t know where the anger is coming from? Or maybe screaming matches have become a regular occurrence in your home?
Well, you’re not alone. Many parents ask their kids’ seemingly minor requests to be met with a major emotional response or meltdown.
Welcome Impactful Parents. Today, we will talk about children’s ANGER and how parents can help their children gain control over their big emotions.
Hello, my name is Kristina Campos. I am the founder of the Impactful Parent. I am the host of the Impactful Parenting podcast and have a free parenting app you can download on Apple or Android devices, also called Impactful Parent.
First, parents need to understand that matching their child’s rage and big emotions does little for improving the situation. In fact, it just damages the parent-child relationship. Although it’s natural for parents to want to yell back and command compliance when our kids are being disrespectful in their anger, it’s not what we should do. Instead, I will encourage you to take a new 5 step process to deescalate the situation and bring understanding into your household.
Step 1: Remain Calm. Take a few deep breaths, count backward from 5 to 1, or do whatever you need to do to NOT yell back. Kids feed off us. They react to our reactions. Yelling back just provokes more yelling. A calm, soothing presence is the most effective way for a parent to help their child regain their composure. This will enable your child to begin dealing with the problem logically, constructively.
Step 2: Understand That Your Child Needs Your Help. A handful of times, our kids’ anger and outburst have nothing to do with us. Still, kids need a place to take out all the sadness, frustration, nervousness, doubt. Whatever big emotion they might feel, the child subconsciously feels like home is the best place for them to do this. Parents are supposed to be a safe place. Parents are supposed to love their children no matter what, even if they are acting like an animal with rabies. Parents don’t deserve to have their child’s bad mood explode on them, but try and remember that your child needs your help to process these big emotions, and yelling back at them isn’t teaching them anything. Instead, we need to help our children identify where their anger is coming from and how to deal with it.
Anger protects us from being vulnerable. Even when anger appears to be instantaneous, there is always some other feelings or reason that give rise to the anger. Children will avoid dealing with their fears, sadness, or anxiety by stuffing down those emotions instead of projecting anger. Why?
- Anger empowers us with a sense of control. It allows us to feel empowered instead of a victim.
- Anger can be used to seek attention. Anger outbursts can be a cry for help, even subconsciously.
- It is easier to be angry than to feel the other emotions that the anger is suppressing. Anger can be used as a way to soothe other pains.
Step 3: Help Your Child Calm Down So You Can Talk To Them. You can’t help your child until they are ready to talk, and sometimes we need to help the child calm down. Learning to cope with big emotions and keep your cool does NOT happen overnight. This is a skill your child needs to develop with practice. Imagine how difficult it is for us, as adults, to keep our composure when someone gets us angry. Children have that same difficulty plus more because they are less practiced at it. Coping isn’t intuitive, and as parents, it is important to understand that we probably have to help our children learn to cope.
A mistake that many parents make during this step is assuming what works for them will work for their child. This is not necessarily the case. Kids have to find what works for them on their own, and although your way of coping might work for them, it also may not. Teach your child to cope by giving them lots of options for coping and letting them try each technique out one by one. Let them discover what works for them and what doesn’t through practice and the process of elimination.
To help aid in this process, I have a free PDF for you called 20 Ways To Cope. This free resource gives parents over 20 different coping ideas to teach their children. Once several coping techniques that work for your child are identified, I suggest you make a coping box to keep those ideas in one place. When you are done, the box might contain papers with reminders of activities your child can do, different fidget toys, books, journals for your child to write in, coloring books, soft fuzzy blankets, … the idea is to have a box that contains varies options for coping readily for your child to use when they need it. Get the 20 Ways To Cope FREE resource inside the Impactful Parent App alongside this video. https://theimpactfulparent.com/app
Step 4: Identify the REAL source of the stress. Now that you and your child are calmer, you are ready to start figuring out what is really the underlying issue of all that anger. The best way to do this is to ask your child lots of questions. Kids learn best if you don’t tell them the answers, but you let them figure out the answers themselves. Let your child discover the root of their feelings, even if you think you know the answers already. Start by saying something like, “I can see you are upset today. Can we talk about what is going on? I would like to help.” Then follow up with LOTS of questions about their feelings and the incident that made them angry. Remember, even if you think you know the answers, you want to lead your child to discover those answers themselves. Ask questions like:
- What might be causing that?
- What was your reaction?
- What could you have done better?
- Why do you think that happened?
- How did that make you feel?
- Why do you think they did that?
- Is there any truth in what that person said, or was it false?
- Why does it bother you?
To help you in this process of asking the right questions, I have another FREE PDF for you. These FREE resources give parents questions to ask their children to help them process what happened and learn from their choices. Get it inside the Impactful Parent App alongside this video. https://theimpactfulparent.com/app
Approach your child with empathy and understanding. You want to acknowledge their anger and validate their feelings. You can say something like, “You seem angry today. I bet something crappy happened. I have mad days too.” You don’t want to solve your child’s problems for them. Instead, the intention is to listen and ask questions.
Remember, sometimes children have angry outbursts because they lack the skills to behave any other way. When parents take the time to help their children process and learn from their experiences, they also empower their children to grow and learn.
Step 5: Repeat Don’t expect to go through this process once and have your child come out of a Rock Star of Emotional Control. This is going to take practice. Remember, progress is sometimes two steps forward and one step back. Some days your child will want to talk, and other days your child doesn’t even want to calm down. You are going to have to stay consistent and patient! Don’t give up!
Remember my child stomping up the stairs? Well, I found out that they failed a quiz. Not just any quiz, but one they studied for a lot, and we’re hoping to ace and bring their B+ to an A-. To make matters worse, on the walk home, their backpack zipper broke. Papers, notebooks, pencils, and books fell to the ground, were moist and puddly from the afternoon rain. My child felt defeated by the day and was frustrated with his quiz score.
I could have matched my child’s behavior with my own anger. It certainly would have been justified because my child’s tone and words could be considered disrespectful. I could have yelled at them, given them a punishment, or demanded they start homework immediately. But I didn’t. I didn’t respond at all. I let them storm to their room. 10 minutes later, I knocked on their door with popcorn in my hand. “Hey, kiddo. It seems like you’re angry. Are you ok? I bet something bad happened at school today. What’s going on?”
And that was the start of the conversation.
To grab your free resources mentioned in this video today and if you want to become a more Impactful Parent, download the Impactful Parent app! Available for FREE on Apple and Android app stores. Also, check out all that my website has to offer! I have parenting courses, family coaching, and lots of free resources. But until next time, you got this, parents. I am just here to help.
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