Though hard to believe, children have a lot to be angry about. They’re old enough to know what they want, but too young to always get what they want. Their curiosity and inexperience make them want to try everything, but they might not always succeed. Many emotions and circumstances are completely new, so they do not yet know how to handle it all. On top of it all, most kids have not yet mastered the controlling of impulses.
The first step in anger management for children is identifying their own emotions. Anger also might not be the reason your child is aggressive.
“ … anger is almost never a primary emotion in that even when anger seems like an instantaneous, knee-jerk reaction to provocation, there’s always some other feeling that gave rise to it. – Dr. Leon F. Seltzer
Children often mask feelings, such as hurt or rejection, behind aggressive behavior. Though your child might not know exactly what set them off, asking questions to help them verbalize how they feel teaches them to distinguish different emotions and effectively achieve resolutions.
Teaching the importance of anger management for children
Though anger is an intense, scary emotion, it is not beneficial to eliminate the feeling altogether. Telling a child not to get angry might work temporarily, but the feelings will soon build up into an emotional outburst over an unrelated situation.
The key to anger management for children is exactly that: management. As with any other emotion, there is an appropriate time to be angry. Teach children how to cope with anger, instead of eliminating it. Though obvious to adults, children might not understand the difference between anger and aggression. Although feelings of anger might be justified, physical aggression, such as slamming the door or hitting the other person, is not necessary to get your point across.
For most individuals, managing anger takes a lifetime, so be patient when children are just learning. Every situation has different options for resolution, so learning to know what you can do at what time requires ongoing learning.
Wilderness therapy teaches new life skills
A deficiency in anger management for children can cause serious issues for the child, siblings and parents. If your child has difficulty managing anger, resulting in pervasive aggressive and emotional outbursts, Trails Carolina can help. Our program, designed specifically for young adolescents ages 10-13, helps teach anger management for children in a structured, safe wilderness environment.
Don’t wait to seek help. Early interventions provide the greatest chance for long-term emotional stability. Call us today at 800-975-7303.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graham Shannonhouse has been actively involved in the wilderness therapy field for nearly three decades. After receiving her degree in 1991, Shannonhouse spent 10 years working with a premiere wilderness-based therapeutic program in south-central Idaho. During her tenure, she served three years as a hands-on Field Instructor, three years as Field Supervisor, and the remaining time as Wilderness Program Director. During this period she developed, managed, and served as counselor for the country’s first wilderness program specifically focused on pre- teens ages 10 to 13
Graham returned to the east in 2002 to serve as Executive Director for a therapeutic wilderness program based in North Carolina, successfully growing it to one of the most respected companies in the industry. In 2008, she resigned her position to open Trails Carolina. Having an intimate working knowledge of the roots of wilderness therapy, Graham has brought her experience and wisdom to her position as Partner and Executive Director with the goal of integrating the true family work that must be done to insure lasting success.