Do you have angry buttons? You know those things that someone else can do that are guaranteed to send you from 0 to 60 in .34 seconds. Yep, we all got ‘em!
For me pulling my tie works every time. But why is that? It is a fairly innocuous thing to do and may be done in jest or play, just a gentle tug, not necessarily an aggressive act. Well some years ago my tie was pulled by an aggressive bully. I did nothing, I let it go…and have regretted it ever since. I was mad but did not respond. Of course I swore to myself that such an act would never go unpunished again.
Now today I rarely wear a tie but if it were pulled by anyone they would reap all that built up repressed anger because I didn’t deal with it at the time. My reaction would be totally disproportionate to the act. The unfortunate tie puller would likely be shocked. I would be apologetic and embarrassed. But this is the way it works, repressed anger is gonna get ya at some time later. And it is the same for your child.
My story may help to explain some of your child’s anger particularly when you can’t figure why it is off the scale. Perhaps their favourite toy car was broken when they reluctantly shared it and they did not have the opportunity to express their anger. Perhaps they were ridiculed for not playing the latest video game, shoulder barged in the corridor by a bully.
If you are able to acknowledge your child’s upset it gives them a space to calm. Eventually they will feel safe enough to experience the emotions driving the anger. The grief over the lost toy, the hurt caused by ridicule or the fear of the bully. After time these vulnerable feelings begin to fade and the anger is no longer required to defend against them, the anger fades away.
When you approach these encounters you need to be sure that you are ‘clean’. What I mean is that your attitude and interaction with them cannot be polluted by anything that has happened before (recent or historic). If you are in your mind, still frustrated by their past behaviour (or some historic repressed anger) as much as you will try to cover that up it will leak out and they will become conscious of the slightest hint of negativity towards them.
One of the key things is the degree of energy you response to the unwanted with. It may be that the anger (unwanted behaviour) is meeting a need for the child. It may make them feel significant in some way or perhaps this is the only way they can gain a connection with you, then you have to start to shift the balance of how they get what they want. They need to and will learn to understand that the anger no longer gives them any form of payoff or certainly lowers their pay off.
There are many books written on child anger and I am not going to try to address all issues in this short piece. But there are many simple strategies that can be used by parents and taught to children.
A child needs to understand and grasp some of these strategies to avoid becoming an angry parent/adult in the future. I work with many angry children presenting and practicing some of these strategies in a safe environment. Often it is great fun but it is always satisfying for me to see these children become less angry.
Your angry child could benefit from the same support, just get in touch below or call me 07964 976711