- Anger is usually a reaction to the feeling that a physical or emotional boundary is being crossed and thus you are vulnerable. When you are not feeling safe, you cannot think logically. Therefore, do not get drawn into an illogical conversation with your child when they are angry. Give your child a safe place to calm down and stay open for the conversation when they are ready.
- Remember, the research shows that emotions are contagious. When you are angry, your child’s anger will feed on your energy and escalate. Do not engage with your child in anger. Wait until you can meet them from a place of compassion and problem-solving.
- When you sense anger starting to escalate with your child, use redirection and/or humor to diffuse frustration and aggressive behavior before it has a chance to start.
- Step away from a situation when you are getting angry or growing frustrated. Model the need for a quick time out before getting started on problem solving.
- Always administer logical consequences in a calm, quiet voice. This will help the situation from continuing to escalate.
- Ask your child to think of some strategies for addressing the issue or trigger that is the cause of their anger. This may help your child with issues of power and control. Talk them through each strategy and the possible consequences of each.
- Your child enjoys engaging in conflict. Choose your battles wisely. Your greatest power is in ignoring these attempts at control. What we give our attention to grows, what we ignore fades.
- Use strategies that give your child power and control. Allow them to be involved in the decisions that affect them. Allow all members of the family to help draft a family constitution, including consequences for misbehavior. When dispensing consequences, simply refer to the constitution.
- Create an environment at home, and a special quiet area or chair that will allow anyone to take a time out if they feel it is necessary. Name the special place, something different than time out, for example “your quiet place”, or “the thinking chair”; therefore turning “Time Out” into a positive opportunity to de-escalate.
- When your child gets angry and lashes out, require them to provide a logical appropriate type of restitution to atone for their angry outburst. For example, apologizing, repairing any damage done, writing a plan for if they are in the same situation in the future, steps they can take to handle it more appropriately, etc.
For more information or targeted strategies regarding your child’s specific strengths or challenges contact our Family Support Coordinator, Dr. Liz Simpson (Liz@soarnc.org).