Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to help my angry child

It hurts so deeply when we hear our beloved child saying: -“I HATE YOU”-. At such a young age, our children may come up to us with painful and scary phrases like: “I don’t want you to be my mom”, “I wish you were dead”, and some may even come up with: -“I want to kill you”-. And as Parents, we tend to feel so disappointed, terrified, and so very sad, and angry too. It is heartbreaking to hear those words when you are doing your best to become a better parent every day. We feel our children should either show some gratitude or, at least, a little respect and kindness for us.

The plain truth is that it is going to take many years for our children to realize and praise our efforts at Parenting. You are doing the right thing, and you are doing your best, but your children are still very far away from appreciating it because children don’t see the world through your grown up eyes. 
Your Top One response to those disturbing phrases should start by acknowledging you need to stay calm.

These outbursts of rage among children are merely a signal from an underlying cause. They don’t metabolize their emotions as we do. Those explosions may be caused by sadness, frustration, or anxiety. Children who seem angry and defiant often have severe, and unrecognized, anxiety. When children have anxiety, especially if they are hiding it, they may have a hard time coping with situations that cause the distress, and they may lash out when someone puts pressure on them that they can't handle. Furthermore, children struggle to understand what they are feeling and don’t know how to cope with it. Their outbursts are a clear call for your help.

After conducting a thorough research on the subject and consulting many authors and specialists, these four steps came up as the Most Positive Approach to help children manage their anger:

1) As soon as your child gets “possessed” by rage and anger, take a very deep breath and don’t react. Don’t say a word until you are in full control of yourself.

2) Use your body language, posture, volume, and tone of your voice to show your child you are very calmed: “I will leave the room now. Please let me know when you calm down”. Don’t raise your voice, don’t take privileges away from your children and don’t punish them. Remember you are trying them how to stay in control of your mind and body, and to express and communicate their feelings in an assertive and positive way. 

3) Wait until your child has calmed down completely, even if you must wait an hour until his or her breathing gets back to normal. As soon as your child enters a “peaceful” state engage into “Connection” time: Use 20 minutes of exclusive play time to connect with him or her and try to see the world through your child’s eyes. Let your child show you what is bothering him or her. 
Children express themselves nicely through play or simple words when you give them the time and confidence they need. Instead of asking questions, while playing, you can tell your child simple real stories about yourself just to inspire them to express their feelings: - “Yesterday I was very mad at my boss because he forgot my birthday. It made me very sad too” -.

4) When you feel angry or sad or anxious, let your child know how you feel and model the behavior to manage those emotions: practice belly-breathing together, teach them how to punch a cushion or go out and take a walk together to get some fresh air. When you have calmed down, use simple words to tell your children, in the shortest possible phrase, what made you upset.

I read this tweet today: “Love is not what you feel. Love is what you do”. It inspired me to write this post for you. Very often, we all need to remind ourselves: loving our children is accepting and supporting them unconditionally, for them to know they can always trust us, to nurture their self-confidence by showing them we will love them no matter what. And when we feel wounded by their “mean words”, we need to keep in mind they are cues intended to let us know our children are in pain and need our help. 

It is our responsibility to show our children how to achieve a peaceful state of mind, stay calmed and successfully manage their emotions, but we can not teach that with words because this is taught by example.  

If you try this approach for a month and your child still comes up with violent phrases like: “I want to kill you” or “I wish you were dead”, my advice is for you to ask for some professional help from a Psychologist.  

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