According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and KidsHeath.org, anger is an emotion that younger children can learn to manage with help from parents, teachers or older siblings. The key to improving a child's anger management is to help him identify and understand his emotions. By using common anger management strategies, a young child can learn to slow down and control his angry responses, using more effective communication skills to talk about his needs and feelings. Parents and other adults can help by modeling healthy anger management and providing structures for young children to express anger and other emotions.
Set clear guidelines and consistently model respectful communication. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that parents can help children master communication skills by modeling appropriate emotional expression and active listening. When a parent is angry, he can set an example by showing a child how to take a break and control his anger before he yells or loses his temper. Younger children who develop a habit of yelling or losing control should experience specific consequences, such as a time out.
Help the child identify anger management techniques that work for him. Experts at KidsHealth.org note that some children benefit from physical activity such as running or doing jumping jacks when they are angry. Others may be able to manage anger by taking a break and writing or drawing about their feelings. For younger children who do not yet write, drawing using colors can be an excellent way to express feelings such as anger or rage. It may take some time to identify the strategy that works the best for the individual child.
Use behavior modification strategies with consequences and rewards. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that parents may be able to modify unwanted behaviors like anger by creating a structured system that tracks improvements in the target behavior. Parents can identify what is acceptable and unacceptable and create a chart or journal to track the child's daily or weekly progress. By setting goals ahead of time, parents can offer children small rewards and encouragement for improvements.
Consult a professional counselor for help with anger management and family communication. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that some problems with anger may require assistance from a therapist. Children can attend individual counseling sessions with a professional who works with children. Parents and children can also attend family counseling sessions with a marriage and family therapist.
Christy Bowles has 15 years of experience in the field of education, with 10 years working in mental health and wellness. She specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety and substance abuse, with a focus on alternative treatment modalities. Bowles holds a Master of Education from Harvard University.