Thirty years ago children did not harbor enough anger to kill their classmates. Today that event seems to be happening more and more often. The stress of living in such a fast-paced world is being passed from adults to children at an alarming rate. During childhood is the time to teach a person how to deal with anger in a healthy manner rather than letting anger get the best of them.
The innocence of childhood is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Not only are children learning things at an earlier age, children of today deal with a lot more stress than children 30 years ago. A child's mind is not adequately prepared to deal with as much stress and anger as can be found in society today. This is one of the most important reasons that the skills of controlling anger should be taught early in life. And why anger management techniques for children have been delevloped.
To better understand anger we need to look at it in further detail.
The Components of Anger
There are three components of anger - emotion, expression, and understanding:
Emotion - this is the feeling of anger and can be produced by many factors in a child's life. Some of these factors that can contribute to anger in children include conflict with other children over possessions, physical assault such as one child hitting or pushing another, rejection by peers, and compliance issues where the child is required to do something that he/she does not want to do such as washing hands or picking up toys.
Expression - Children express anger in many different ways - crying, sulking, or talking. Some children react physically to anger in an aggressive manner such as hitting or pushing. In most cases, children do not fully understand how to express their anger in a constructive way that will result in solving the underlying problem. It is important that children receive guidance from adults and are taught that it is okay to feel angry, but that some reactions are not okay.
Understanding - This is another area in which children need help from adults. Children often cannot understand the emotions they are experiencing, and this understanding can keep them from responding to anger in a constructive way.
Anger Management For Children - Techniques
Here are some key points in help a child learn to manage anger:
Memory - In some cases, a child will need to be reminded over and over how to correctly respond to feelings of anger.
Language - Discussing emotions with children will help them to understand their feelings and what causes these feelings.
Self-Regulation - Children can learn self-regulation by completing activities and exercises that help them to explore different situations, how the situation makes them feel, and what consequences their actions to the situation may bring about.
Safe Emotional Climate - A healthy environment for a child is one in which the child is free to acknowledge all feelings - pleasant and unpleasant - within specified boundaries.
Communication - Communication between a child's parents and other important adults is key to providing similar boundaries for the child in each situation as well as helping the child work through their anger management problems.
Do What I Say, Not What I Do - Although this adage has been around for a long time, children rarely abide by it. Knowing this, it is the adult's responsibility to set an example for children. If the adults in a child's life react to anger rather than responding to anger, this is the learned behavior that will stick with the child. Adults should be a living example and show children through their actions that anger is okay if dealt with in a healthy manner.