Child Anger & Tantrums

Struggling to cope with your child’s anger or tantrums? 

Children can be violent or aggressive and antisocial at times, particularly in situations of change, such as a separation, starting a new school, dealing with a new sibling or moving house.  Even more challenging for a child is coping with illness, loss of a family member or taking into the household a new adult, like a dependent senior or a parent’s new partner.  A public display of a child’s anger or tantrums can be a humiliating experience for a parent.

The good news is that angry and aggressive  kids can become cooperative and caring, if they are shown that it’s not only safe to do so but it’s more comfortable for them. 

Being angry is the child’s strategy for surviving and getting the best deal they can get.  Children learn this from us and we do it too.  I’m sure you know somebody (or can be somebody) who displays anger and aggression when they want something from someone else.

An example of this is the teenager who snarls at siblings who try to come into his or her room.  If the teen is gruff enough, adults and children alike probably leave him or her alone and let the bedroom be messy.

The same child is quite capable of using other strategies at school or the mate’s house, where cheerful compliance might get him or her further.  Many could relate to the child that is angry and aggressive at home but is reported by teachers as being a ‘model student’.

What can you do if you are worried about a child who seems angry and aggressive? 

Therapy can be useful to identify aspects of the family system which might be encouraging anger and aggression, while perhaps not rewarding more pleasant behaviour.    Changes in the focus of the adult leaders of the household and changes in the child’s own skills will encourage behaviour you’d prefer.

Family mediation and targetted child therapies are very effective at changing family systems for the better, so that children are rewarded for cooperation.

If you found this article helpful then you may wish to read another article by rosalin which deals more detailed information on (click here>) Child Therapy in general.

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Rosalin Primrose

MA, Reg Psychologist, FDRP

Phone: 0424 002 640

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