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How to Express Anger in a Healthy Way

by Melissa King

To a child, anger can feel overwhelming and even scary. Many kids don't know how to handle their angry feelings, and so they react by screaming, hitting or throwing objects at others. These expressions of anger may feel satisfying for your child in the moment, but they rarely solve any long-term problems. As a parent, your child needs you to teach him how to express his anger in healthy ways.

Show your child the appropriate way to react when you're angry. For example, if you're rude to a store cashier or curse and yell at other drivers on the road, your child will pick up on that behavior. Instead, act the way that you want your child to behave.

Tell your child that it's okay to feel angry. Explain that anger is a normal and healthy human emotion, but it's not acceptable to express anger in hurtful ways.

Listen to your child when he's angry and has a problem. Don't send him to his room to calm down on his own. Let him know that you're there to help.

Have your child write down what's making him angry on a sheet of paper. Once he's expressed himself, ask him to shred the paper into tiny pieces. This tangible act may make him feel calmer and less angry.

Give your child something he can use to physically and safely express anger, such as a punching bag or pillow to hit. Dancing, running and other physical activities might help your child burn off his anger.

Suggest interesting activities to your child to distract him from his anger and help him calm down. He may enjoy painting, coloring or writing a story.

Help your child put his anger into words. Say things like "You must feel angry that your friend took your toy," or "You don't like waiting for your turn, do you?"

Hold your child in your arms if he seems extremely angry and you think he might hurt himself or others. Your child will probably try to escape, but restrain him until he's calm enough to listen to you.

Praise your child when he expresses anger in an acceptable way. When he sees how pleased you are, he's more likely to repeat his actions.

Items you will need
  • Paper
  • Punching bag or pillow

Tip

  • If your child harms animals or smaller kids, damages property or can't control his angry outbursts, he may benefit from professional help. Consider seeing a counselor with your child if he constantly seems angry, harms himself, loses friends regularly or is preoccupied with revenge.

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images