What’s upsetting your child?

It doesn’t take much to turn a great day into a total melt down. Tantrums, hissy fits and straight forward “NO’s” always seem to come at the wrong times. When is the right time? Should your child be allowed to express his feelings of anger or should we teach him it’s an inappropriate feeling that should be suppressed?

Bad attitudes and sassing aren’t limited to teens and overly-emotional middle-schoolers; preschoolers and toddlers have bad days, too. I can’t express how embarrassing it can be when my 3-year-old decides he wants to sit on the floor and throw a fit in the middle of the store just because he can’t have what he wants or because he is just plain tired. Kids this age really don’t need an excuse, they just need a forum.

How do you deal with an angry child?

In any situation, when dealing with an aggressive nature we have to remain calm. This is not always easy. It’s not easy to let your child scream in your face when you want to scream back; it’s no joy when you finally arrive to your place of destination only to find your little one refuses to leave the car. In all cases we have to remain calm. Block out all the judging eyes around us and take control.¬†Practice this at home. Don’t wait until you’re in line and your child is barking mad to teach them about indoor and outdoor voices, do this in your comfort zone.

Try not to engage in combat with your child. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched parents carry on hostile conversations back and forth with their children only enraging themselves and frustrating their child even more. Let your “yes” mean “yes” and your “no” mean “no”. Let your child know it’s OK to have angry feelings but that there’s a way to deal with them—an acceptable way and an unacceptable way.

Watch yourself. How do you handle anger? How are you dealing with issues when they arise that set a bad tone at home or at work? Even a child overhearing their parents discuss sensitive issues that cause tension in the home or with others teaches our children how we react and sets a model for them to follow.

No one’s perfect. We all have our downfalls. But image being a child with a limited vocabulary and a world of hurt going on inside. It’s tough. It’s tough for us as adults! Remember that no child stays angry, it’s always temporary and it will pass. Try addressing concerns before they happen. Prevent candy-isle fits by avoiding the candy-isle. Don’t expect a 2-year-old to show restraint when she has just discovered the joys of chocolate. I know I can barely contain myself sometimes–LOL!

Kids are going to act up, they are going to embarrass you and throw fits. Let’s be smarter than them and stay ahead of the game by practicing correct ways to deal with emotional flare-ups before they have a chance to ruin our days.

“Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.”¬† ~Lyman Abbott

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3 thoughts on “What’s upsetting your child?

  1. You brought up some great issues! Being a mom has definitely made me examine how I handle my own feelings–especially when a screaming toddler is thrown in the mix. We all have feelings that come and go and it is a challenge sometimes to find healthy expressions of them. I try to remember that not only is my child quick to cry, she is also quick to laugh and to offer comfort–such is the roller coaster of life!

  2. Great ideas! My 4yo is a master of public manipulation. We have figured out that if we give her a count of 3 to stop and re-direct, especially under the threat of her beloved dolphin spending a few hours in toy jail, she quickly rethinks her actions. We stay calm, and she regains her composure. Momentarily, at least.

  3. You brought up a great point. Young children are learning new things and feelings are one of them. It is natural to have bad feelings of being angry and sad. Without feelings we wouldn’t be human. It is also important to show them how to correctly address their feelings. We often get caught up in their feelings, because we are caught off guard. It is important to recognize their feelings and talk them throught it. It is also just as important to mentor how feelings should be handled so that way they know by watching us. Great post!

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