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Anger Management Techniques for Children

Instructor: Karin Gonzalez

Karin has taught middle and high school Health and has a master's degree in social work.

In this lesson, you will learn the symptoms of anger as well as a variety of tasks for anger management for children. Following the lesson will be a brief quiz.

What Is Anger Management?

Anger is a very natural feeling that occurs when we are irritated by something. Many adults know that anger is natural and also know that controlling anger is very important in order to keep relationships and jobs. Unfortunately for many children, they have anger but don't know how to control it.

Anger management involves recognizing symptoms of anger and taking required actions to calm and control the anger. People that are skilled in anger management know how to effectively express their anger with skilled communication so they don't keep it bottled inside. Anger management is a top focus for therapists who counsel children with behavioral issues. Typically these therapists use worksheets, activities, role playing, and games to help kids channel their anger in more healthy ways.

Before getting started with anger management, kids need to know the physical, emotional, social, and legal consequences for inappropriate expression of anger. It is also important for kids to recognize the root of their angry feelings, such as sadness or fear. These steps are vital before moving to anger management strategies.

Recognize Anger Symptoms

Children first need to know what anger looks like so they can recognize it and start using their anger management techniques before it gets out of control. Here are some common anger symptoms in children:

Physical

  • Face gets red
  • Body heats up
  • Heart races
  • Clenched fists or teeth
  • Tense muscles
  • Fast breathing
  • Squinting

An adult could show a child how to clench their fist or breath fast and tell them that this is sometimes what happens when we feel angry. They could advise the child that when they start to feel these things they should start using their anger management skills.

Verbal

  • Low and angry tone of voice
  • Yelling
  • Profanity or cursing
  • Insults, criticism or unkind words

Teaching children to monitor and notice their own verbal actions can also help them to master managing their anger.

Anger Management Techniques for Children

There are many anger management techniques for children. It's important to reiterate to children that anger is a normal emotion that we all feel, sometimes on a daily basis. The benefit of anger is that it tells us that there is a problem but it is NOT a good state of emotion to solve problems.The key is learning to control that anger so that we can solve problems in a calm and positive manner.

Focus-Oriented Tasks

Focus-oriented tasks allow kids to focus on something else other than their anger so that they can distract themselves and reorient to something more productive.

  • Counting to 50: This is self-explanatory but can take the focus from the situation to the process of counting.
  • Deep breathing: This is one of the oldest tricks in the book and also helps numerous children calm their anger and anxiety. Teach kids how to slowly breath in through the nose until the breath makes their stomach stick out, and how to slowly breath out through the nose or mouth until they have 'emptied' their lungs.
  • Music or singing a song: Ask the child what their favorite song is and then ask them to recite this song in their head or aloud if they are alone to take their mind off the anger-inducing situation. Either that, or to listen to music that helps them calm down.

Creative Tasks

Creative tasks allow children an outlet for creative expression, such as writing or painting, which can also give caregivers and counselors an alternative way to peer into the minds of children with anger issues.

  • Journaling or writing: Sometimes kids need a channel to express negative feelings and words. Taking their anger out on a pen and piece of paper is better than them expressing this anger verbally or physically.
  • Drawing: Kids can draw their anger in the form of pictures. Teach kids how to use certain colors, like red, to portray anger.

Physical Tasks

Physical tasks are sometimes the most effective because children are very physical beings. They love to play, be outside, and are full of energy.

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