School is a place where memories are made. The memories can be pleasant – made with great teachers and fun friends. Or, it can be a place of pain and struggles. When children display different behaviors than their peers do, they can be misunderstood which can ignite reactions that can be very hurtful.
Teachers and parents often try to make things better and to ensure that going to school is a good experience, but when concerning behavioral issues that center around a child’s anger, it is sometimes out of their control.
Anger Management for Kids: Therapeutic Techniques for Children
Below you will find a few of the top techniques used to treat anger management for children in the classroom which can be helpful to parents, teachers, and of course, to the children who are exhibiting the anger involved.
Getting to the Root Source
One method that can help children who are in need of managing their issues of anger is to actually understand their anger and anger in general. Oftentimes, where the anger is actually stemming from is a complete mystery to teachers, parents, the school staff, the child’s peers, and even to the child. It is extremely helpful to identify the source of it so change can begin.
Below you will find some questions to inquire of the parent and child or even for parents to ponder when figuring out which information they will ultimately share with the staff at the school in the even the child does have a behavioral change:
- Does the parent/guardian or child acknowledge or recognize the angry behavior?
- What do the child, parent/guardian, or therapist think is the root of the anger?
- When the child is upset, what emotion do they express they are feeling?
- How is the anger managed at home?
- Is any help being sought from an outside situation such as therapy or a family doctor?
- Is outside assistance being given by anyone in order to help manage the behavior and anger?
Information can be share in multiple ways so that the families and the school can keep open communication and are able to discuss ways the child’s problem can be properly managed.
It’s very helpful for a teacher to be aware of how the anger began in the child and to know if perhaps the issue started following a family loss in which case the teacher and staff can be sympathetic to the situation. Sometimes even being sleepy or medical condition may cause behaviors that manifest like anger. Some mental disorders (such as defiant conditions) give way to authority issues as well.
Diagnoses in Children
Moments in the lives of children can be completely confusing, overwhelming and unique. Listed below are some diagnoses that may be the source of anger in children:
- Intellectual Disability (or, Development Disorder) It is common for the initial onset of this condition to occur when both intellectual devolopment and adaptive development is taking place. It affects practical domains, social functioning, and conceptual development and can cause problems in school, at home, and in the community as well.
- Hyperactivity Disorder (Attention Deficit): This condition involves a constant and persistent pattern where hyperactivity and/or inattention interferes with the ability to properly function. It may lead to behavioral and learning issues and problems with peers, authority figures, and other social relationships.
- Disruptive Mood and Dysregulation Disorder: To qualify for this disorder, the child must manifest the onset of symptoms prior to ten years of age. Severe, chronic irritability, aggression that is directed to other people, themselves, or objects are signs of the disorder. It is imperative to get help given the serious nature of the issue.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (females who are teen and pre-teen): Anger and irritability are two prevalent signs of this condition. The last week before menstruation often marks the peak time of emotional outbursts and exaggerated moods. The week after the period, symptoms usually disappear.
- Social Phobia and Anxiety: When a situation of a social nature produces such intense anxiety the child clings, freezes up, cries, or won’t speak, it is quite possibly the sign of a social anxiety or phobia.
- Reactive Attachment: When a child seldom seeks comfort at times he is distressed and has few affections that are positive yet displays frequent episodes where he has unexplained irritability, extreme sadness without cause, or exaggerated fearfulness, there is concern that he may have the disorder of reactive attachment.
- Oppositional Defiance: A child who easily and often loses his temper and who is touchy and frequently and easily annoyed may have oppositional defiance issues, especially when it involves an adult or person of authority.
- Intermittent Explosive: Initiating verbal or physical fights or aggression displays is a sign of Intermittent Explosiveness. Throwing temper tantrums, hurting animals, and/or destruction of property are other symptoms.
- Conduct Disorder: A child who frequently bullies or threatens others or has tendencies to be mean or cruel to humans and/or animals very well may have this serious disorder.
- Post-Traumatic Stress: Especially following an incident that traumatized him, a child may exhibit irritable behavior and/or outbursts of anger which apparently without cause.
Discovering and understanding what lies behind the behavior of a child can help pave the way for solutions. Management techniques can be set into place and followed through with by parents and family members, teachers and other school staff members, and the child himself.
Anger Management for Kids: Top Techniques
Here are a few top techniques that can be helpful in managing anger issues in children:
Taking the focus off the problem is one way young children can be taught to deal with things that tend to stem their negative behavior. If a troubled child is having problems with another child on the playground, inviting the child to play in a different area can discourage conflict and detour the child’s focus.
Redirection gives a child the opportunity to discover alternative options and to play with other people in other places. Some children do not yet possess the skills to redirect their own selves so the supporting adult can introduce the redirections instead.
Identifying, Expressing, and Sharing Feelings
It takes a good bit of awareness from the person who’s responsible for the redirection but involving the child when doing so will help the child learn to problem solve on his own eventually.
It is very important for the child to be able to pinpoint when they’re experiencing a certain emotion which could cause an anger outburst. Charts that measure and identify feelings are priceless tools to use for this cause. Encouraging the child to chart his feelings can lead to him better understanding them over time.
When confusion sets in, children may not be able to identify emotions and feelings on their own. The chart gives the child choices to identify with rather than having to think them up all on his own. Parents and teachers can choose what they are feeling too which adds to the chance of success and will make the child more comfortable in sharing his own feelings.
Expressing emotions is a difficult thing at times for anyone, especially when it is a child doing so. They are not always mature enough to distinguish fear from anger or to tell the difference between being hurt and being mad.
Children who are creative and like to draw or write can be prompted to express their feelings through their writings or through art. Not only will they be able to get their feelings out but they can also learn more about themselves and begin to explore positive solutions to negative feelings or emotions.
A child might draw a picture of how they are feeling which might involve something like a frown and hair that is haphazard. A teacher might study the picture and begin to note that the child feels out of control. This discovery can spur the teacher to implement measures that will help the child feel they are more in control again.
There are some children who possess verbal skills that can adequately express to others their feelings after they begin to recognize what’s going on. It is imperative to listen to a child who is speaking of their feelings without any form of judgement or even correction. Just allow the child to talk freely.
Self-expression is the key to identifying and dealing with emotions. It can help both the adult supporter and the child find where anger may be stemming from. The goal is to allow the child to share whether it is through art or by speaking. It is vital the child feels he can express his emotions safely.
Other helpful measures can be set into place like allowing the child to have snacks when he is hungry. There can be a designated time and place for snacks or the child can approach the adult in charge when he feels the need arise. Other children in the class may be allowed to partake in a snack too if the teacher feels such a thing would be of value.
There are many solutions that can be put into play that will be a great help for teachers, parents, and even the child. These things may take a little time to set up and to implement but they are well worth the extra effort.
Regulation of Self
Teaching children ways in which to regulate themselves is very powerful. Those who learn to can begin to take steps to identify, express and share. The child, school and even the parents can all work synergistically to create a plan that all are aware of in which the child can learn of new choices he has when feeling angry or upset. Some suggestions are listed below:
- Encouraging the child to take some breaks during the day with a person who is safe or in an area that is safe is wise so emotions don’t just build up and fester.
- Since hunger and blood sugar issues can aggravate behavioral problems, having healthy snacks available is a good idea.
- The use of a behavioral chart which is created by the student is a tool that can assist in accountability and can be an opportunity for good behavior to be rewarded.
- When the student is experiencing a feeling of emotion, encourage him to draw or write in his notebook. The notebook can be given to him by any supporting adult like his parent or teacher. He can even be allowed to create his own.
When children are first learning to regulate themselves, they require the diligent support of the adults who are around them. It is a good idea to have a list of plans that you and your child have created and studied over. These pre-planned actions and reactions are helpful so the child does not have to rely upon his own actions and impulses which may not be mature or conducive to the situation.
By incorporating a plan, children can experience the freedom to control and regulate by simply choosing one or more of the approved choices so they will ultimately be able to control more of the behavior and can more effectively manage their anger.
Finally, a prime technique for managing anger in class is having support from the staff and teachers at school, parents and other family members, and even those at church like Sunday school teachers and youth group leaders. The more support and love your child has, the better his chance of overcoming is.
When your child feels understood, supported, and unconditionally loved, it sets the scene for positive changes to take place. Having support from others is priceless. It helps the parent and the child know that they are not in
Being aware of what takes place in all the different arenas of the life of your child is a huge help. As you learn more, changes can begin to take place.
Are you searching for a child counselor to help support you for anger based issues? Our counselors are ready and able to help you learn to manage anger and get to the root. Call today for more information.
“Shirtless Boy”, Courtesy of Vance Osterhout, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Smile,” courtesy of Andrik Langfield Petrides, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Hug,” courtesy of markzfilter, pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Jenga,” courtesy of Michel Parzuchowski, unsplash.com, CC0 License