How to Stop an Angry Child

By Lars Tramilton
Calm an upset child.
Calm an upset child.

It can be frustrating to be the parent of a child who is easily upset and angered. Dealing with constant temper tantrums and whining can be headache-inducing and stressful for even the calmest of parents. To successfully manage an angry child, it is important for parents to examine the root causes of the child's anger, whether it's feeling neglected, tired, jealous or hungry. Being prepared is the key for stopping angry children.

Encourage deep breathing. When a child is angry, it is vital for a parent to set a positive example by behaving in a calm manner. Sit or stand up with your angry child and instruct him to breathe deeply in and out. This can be effective for getting his attention and then attaining a starting point for discussing exactly what is causing his anger.

Find out what the problem is. It is all too common for parents to get so upset about the fact that their child is lashing out that they never find out the cause of the behavior in the first place. When a child feels helpless, the emotion often manifests itself with anger. Find out if your child is frustrated due to feeling anxious, isolated, lonely or embarrassed, all of which are common emotional triggers of anger. The better you understand how your child is feeling, the better equipped you will be to help her solve her problem. Ask her what went wrong, what initially happened and why she feels the way she does. It might be necessary for you to assist your child in providing a label for the emotions she is experiencing.

Encourage activities. Teach your child how to focus how he is feeling on something else. For example, tell him to concentrate all of his negative feelings on strenuous physical activities, including tearing up newspaper, digging into the dirt and running around. These activities are all a form of venting, and can help to ease the tension a child is feeling. Tell your child also to participate in relaxing and calming activities to ease anger, including relaxing in a warm bath, finger painting and drawing.

Show your child how to appropriately indicate particular feelings. Avoid putting your child under the impression that it is better to suppress such emotions as anger. Show your child that she do not have to suppress or hide her emotions, but that she also does not have to lash out in anger. Encourage your child to use gentle words as a form of expressing anger, with sentences such as "I feel bad when you ignore me after you work" instead of "I hate you when you don't talk to me after work."

Display healthy ways of handling mistakes. In some situations, perfectionist children get angry when they make mistakes. Mistakes can lead to intense feelings of embarrassment, and ultimately anger. Show your child that mistakes can lead to learning. Indicate to your child that mistakes send you a message and can help you learn what not to do in the future, instead of repeating behaviors that, simply put, do not work. Set a positive example for yourself. If you find yourself making a mistake, do not beat yourself over it. Children often emulate behavioral patterns of their parents.

Be consistent. Stability and consistency are healthy for children. Parenting needs to be conducted in a consistent and predictable manner. Be clear with your child regarding the consequences of his behaviors, good and bad. The more consistent you are, the more secure your child will feel, resulting in less angry outbursts if things don't always go his way.

Inspire your angry child. Tell your child personal stories from your past about hardships that you have overcome. Inform your child that life is full of adversities and problems, no matter who you are. Teach your child that an important aspect of life is how you handle situations that are thrown at you. Provide her with the notion that is necessary for her to persevere and amidst life's difficulties.

Tip

Be patient. Changing the temperament of an angry child doesn't usually happen overnight. Take time to provide your child with a loving environment of stability, good examples, listening and understanding.

About the Author

Lars Tramilton has been writing professionally since 2007. His work has appeared in a variety of online publications, including CareerWorkstation. Tramilton received a bachelor's degree with a focus on elementary education from Kean University.