By Bellevue Christian counseling
Anger is an emotion that many children struggle to manage. It can often overwhelm the child and cause them to hurt themselves or those around them. While they can’t control feeling angry, they can choose what actions they take as a result of feeling angry.
Counseling is a great place for children to learn skills to manage their anger. A great book written for children to teach them coping skills is called How to Take the Grr Out of Anger by Elizabeth Verdick & Marjorie Lisovskis. In this book, Verdick and Lisovskis include information to help give children language to express their anger and steps to recognize what situations make them angry. One of the first skills we can teach in counseling is awareness of situations that trigger the individual’s anger. Some examples of triggers are being teased, being treated unfairly, or being ignored.
Healthy Responses to Anger Triggers
Through counseling sessions, your child can learn his or her anger triggers, how their body responds to anger, and strategies for how to calm down. There are many methods that might be used in a session including participating in a role -play, using puppets, reading a book, or drawing a picture. Role-plays give your child a chance to practice skills that are talked about in session. Another technique used is visualizations such as imagining a scale from 1-10 and picturing where they are on the scale and focusing on taking deep breaths to help oneself get down to a lower number on the scale. Still another technique is to think of a happy place or floating on a cloud as these visualizations allow your child to think about a place that they love and combined with deep breaths until their feelings of anger fade away.
It Starts with You
An important first step for parents is the ability to regulate their own emotions while their child is struggling with anger. It’s important that parents are able to remain calm and not enter into their child’s emotions. The child needs their parent’s empathy and problem solving help and that can only be done when a parent can keep their own emotions about the situation on hold. This may require working through your own emotions!
If you find that you are struggling with your emotions as your deal with your child’s emotions, a great resource is Parenting a Child who has Intense Emotions by Pat Harvey and Jeanine Penzo. Think of it like putting on your own oxygen mask before putting an oxygen mask on your child! Always keep in mind that, in order to help your child manage his or her emotions, you need to be working on your own first.
A Christian Counselor is equipped and ready to help your child and you walk through your struggle with anger.
Images cc: freedigitalphotos.com -“Children In Angry” by supakitmod
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