Anger in children is a normal emotion. It is often triggered by frustration, wherein a child does not understand the situation and how to deal with it. It also comes from stress and can be a sign of anxiety.
Any time your child displays anger, take the time to explain that it's acceptable to be angry, but emphasize as well that he or she needs to find ways to cope with those feelings.
Never counteract anger with anger. As the parent or caregiver, your job is to help your child develop ways to become a properly functioning adult.
The following are the red flags or warning signs of anger in a child or an adolescent and thus, would need professional help:
In a child:
- Anger in the child becomes severe; he tears up his books and breaks things in the house.
- The child’s behavior poses a danger to himself and others.
- Anger is sustained, lasting for an hour or more.
- Teachers at your child’s school have voiced concern over his anger and behavior.
- The child has performed acts of violence against others (like setting fire in school or torturing animals).
In an adolescent:
- persistent rude and verbally abusive behavior
- physical aggression or outbursts against others
- physical aggression or outbursts against self
- anger turned inward through starvation, avoidance of friends, self-mutilation
- school attendance and performance problems
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (2007, December 13). Excessive Tantrums In Preschoolers May Indicate Serious Mental Health Problems. Science Daily. August 2008.
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