Controlling anger is a difficult task, even for adults who have years of practice. Nine-year-olds, who are just beginning to learn the rules of relationships, can have a particularly hard time with this area of emotional control. While difficult, anger management is still possible, even for these inexperienced youngsters. To ensure that your child successfully avoids the pitfalls that he can encounter by allowing anger to get the best of him, work with him to build and improve his anger-management skills.
Model good anger-management skills. If you fly off the handle at the smallest thing, it is likely that your child will replicate this behavior. Try your best to demonstrate good anger-management skills by practicing what you preach. When you find yourself getting angry, stop and try to defuse your anger before you blow up so that your child does not witness you in the midst of an anger-filled meltdown.
Practice empathy. Children can better control their anger if they can understand how the other party in a disagreement may feel. Practice empathy with your child by discussing emotions regularly. When you read a book with your child, take time to talk about how the characters may feel in different situations. If you child tells you about an argument she had at school, talk about how the other student may have felt when the two argued so that your child can see that her emotions are not the only ones at play.
Set clear rules for physical contact or name calling. Most children express frustration through physical contact or name calling. To stop them from taking one of these counter-productive responses to anger, set clear guidelines and strictly enforce them. While adults know that there are lots of reasons why you might not want to hit something, children often cannot rationalize why it might not be a good idea. By creating a rule against it, you let the child know that it is not acceptable to hit or call names, regardless of how angry you may feel.
Encourage the child to stop when he feels himself becoming angry. The best way to defuse anger is to step away from the situation. Explain this principle to your child, and tell him that when he becomes angry he needs to walk away and take time to cool down before he does something that he may later regret.
Arrange a cool-down area. If your child regularly becomes angry, speak to the child’s school and ask them to set aside an area where she can go to calm down. This area can be designated the cool-down area and can be the child’s go to location when she becomes frustrated. Establish a similar area at home so that your child has a place to turn whenever her anger becomes overwhelming.
Provide the child with an outlet for his anger. Stress balls, feathers and clay can provide productive outlets for children when they become angry. By touching these soft, squishy objects, the child can calm his nerves and regain composure. If anger persists, provide your child with a pocket-sized diversion, and encourage him to utilize it whenever he feels himself getting out of control.