Start by brainstorming with your child. Ask, “What situations seem to make you angry?” One child’s list included:
- Losing a game.
- When my little brother uses my things.
- When someone says something wrong about me.
- When I’m really hungry.
Now help your child think about what he might do in these situations. “If you’re losing a game and you know that can make you angry, what might you do instead?” One technique is to give your child a few phrases he can repeat to himself: It’s only a game, or I can handle this without losing my cool.
Brainstorm about things your child can do instead of getting angry. These might include listening to some music, writing a story with the person he’s mad at as the main characte or running around the house to get rid of some energy.
You should also help your child think about a phrase or two that he can use to get himself out of a situation where he’s likely to get angry: I’m too mad to talk about this right now. I’m going home.
Children can learn to take responsibility for managing their anger. If all these techniques don’t work, you may want to talk with a counselor or a doctor to see if your child needs extra help in controlling anger.
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