Raise children with healthy anger

Raising children with healthy anger

Teaching children to cope with anger means modeling healthy release of it ourselves.


To raise your child with healthy anger is to give him a gift that has long lasting benefits. It creates healthy bonds and reinforces the love between parent and child. It means that emotions can be allowed, accepted and expressed between parent and child in an appropriate way, so that nobody gets hurt. As parents we model behaviour for our children. Not only do children copy what they see, but they also receive a clear message that what they have seen or experienced must be correct, if mom or dad are behaving in a particular way.

Anger is a normal, natural, human emotion that we experience when we are triggered by a situation that we are not happy with. It is very individual and what might trigger you, may not trigger others.

We always have a choice as to how we behave and we have to take responsibility as parents to model the right behaviour for our children. If no one ever actually tells us to get angry or asks us to storm out, to shout or scream or hit, this suggests that we are choosing to do these things when we are triggered.

How were you raised?
A worthwhile exercise is to think back on how you were raised and treated by your parents when you were a child and what impact it had on you. If you find yourself doing similar unacceptable things to your children, then it’s advisable to reconsider things.

In order to understand our own anger better, we can compare ourselves to pressure cookers. Whenever we are triggered, these charges of anger, frustration, irritation or fear, begin to build up inside of us and over time the valve explodes and often minor things get blown out of all proportion.

Rules for managing anger

Catch yourself
A fundamental rule in anger management is to immediately stop what you’re about to do or say, calm down, perhaps by breathing deeply, and begin to think about what is happening and how you should manage the situation. You’ll control your anger and react appropriately. Your child will learn from you and appreciate your guidance in teaching them which behaviours aren’t acceptable when they feel angry or upset.

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Misdirected anger can be very scary to a child and can produce feelings of stress, insecurity, fear and guilt, as well as impact on his mental wellbeing.

Discover why
It’s useful if you learn to identify the motive behind your child’s behaviour. They have their own feelings of joy, sadness, fear and anger. And, they are equally entitled to express their anger or emotions as a little human being, but need to be guided to do so in an appropriate way. When your child is angry, it’s because they aren’t happy about something and it’s up to you, as a parent, to first understand what the problem is and then, to know how to manage it, alone or with them.

Many children learn from an early age how to manipulate and will even use anger and temper outbursts to get what they want. This is an example of where you need to set a boundary with a firm and consistent message that they can get what they wants with good behaviour and not temper.

Alone time
Alone time is another very important concept in anger management. It can empower your child to go to their bedroom when they feel mad and need to recover. They can play with some toys, colour or draw, lie on their bed, or punch a pillow. When they feel happy again, they can return to the lounge. There is no punishment involved and they learn that anger can be managed or expressed without anyone or anything being hurt in the process.

Parents who argue should also learn to take timeout when they need to so that they don’t fight in front of their children.

Anger management is a thinking person’s game. We need to get out of our emotional state and into our thinking state and calm down whenever we deal with things. When we parent with our own healthy anger we’ll raise emotionally healthy children who also know how to have healthy anger. This has far-reaching benefits in your child’s life. If you’re not managing your anger or stress, speak to your doctor.

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