We have been dealing with stress around the world due to the coronavirus outbreak. Too many changes affecting our daily routines, taking into account that routines make us all feel safe, kids had to adjust to homeschooling, no playmates around, parents confused doing home office and homeschooling…many overwhelmed. All these changes in our normality have had an impact on us. And of course, on the children. It is quite common to see people behave angrily with this COVID outbreak. Anger is just one emotion. A frequent one. To feel anger is an emotion; to behave angrily is a choice. Let’s talk here about the way children show this emotion.
Anger is an emotion that does not have the best marketing. “Anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.” According to this definition, it is an emotion, not good nor bad, it is something we feel. it is a way we express that something or someone has hurt us. We feel pain, anger is one way to show it.
While we grow into adults, kids are taught in the way we show our emotions. This training comes from various places, from the people who are close to us. Through their actions (and words) they teach us how to show our emotions. So, if we talk about angry children, we need to look at their environment. Study who is training them in the process of showing emotions
Anger is a normal response
Anger is an emotional response, and it is healthy to show anger when you feel frustrated, but we all know that the way you show, the way you express your anger is what makes the difference. Allowing a child’s instinctual response is not a clever idea and the results can be harmful to the kid himself making him even more angry and frustrated. Even worse if we think about the social effects.
The human being is a social species and there are some social interaction rules. Children need to learn these social rules and see how they can express their anger properly. With your example, you can show a child that you can be upset or sad, about something without losing control and that is a normal and socially accepted behavior.
How to handle angry children
After this COVID outbreak, we have seen a lot of angry children, more than usual… An angry child is a huge threat to their environment. Although we can and or might understand and even justify their anger as an expression of emotion, it must be managed properly. Parents, teachers, and or caretakers are the ones that should teach, with the example. If a parent is responding with anger, there is no way the kid will do anything different under frustration. Easy to say difficult to do.
Let us point out a few tips we can give parents, teachers, and caretakers to help children deal with their anger. First, do not give in. Usually, when a child is having a meltdown of anger, to end it, we just give in and if we do so we make a big mistake. This behavior will just tell the child that is the way to get what you want.
Keep calm and consistent, you are in a much better position if you control your own emotions. Take the child to a safe place and wait until the meltdown is over to talk., and, please, keep the talk to the minimum
If we want to help a child healthily manage their anger, we need to teach kids to identify the triggers, talk about what is making them angry and try to prevent it next time, and, in case we can’t, help them figure out ways to deal with those feelings healthily
From a development point of view, we can affirm that there are ages where we see most children having tantrums when they feel frustrated and that is normal, but when this happens repeatedly can be a warning The frequency and intensity is what makes the difference
Anger as a warning sign
When we see an angry child, we must try to understand what is beneath, what it means or what the child is trying to express.When this behavior is dangerous for him or others, when this anger does not let the child study or is interrupting his social abilities, then we must see this anger as a sign of something that is not going well.
There is no one diagnosis for angry child’s per se but sometimes there might be some underlying causes that need to be lined out to manage this behavior properly .it is important to get a specialist to outline if there is no mental condition behind this behavior (ADD, sensory procession issues among others). Then we need to ask for professional help. A prompt diagnosis will habilitate us to provide the needed help.