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Is Your Child Experiencing Emotional Outbursts?
Most children have occasional tantrums or meltdowns. They may sometimes lash out if they’re frustrated. Or they may be defiant if asked to do something they don’t want to do. It’s important to remember that child anger issues is normal and can be a healthy emotion when expressed in socially appropriate ways.
But when kids do these things repeatedly, or can’t control their tempers a lot of the time, there may be something more than typical behavior going on.
When children continue to have regular emotional outbursts, it’s usually a symptom of distress. The first step is understanding what’s triggering your child’s behavior. There are many possible underlying causes, including:
- They’re tired, hungry or overstimulated
- They feel powerless
- They feel disconnected
- They feel unheard
- They feel hurt
- They’re displacing their anger
- Their boundaries have been invaded
- They feel anxious
- They’re not getting what they want
- They’re unable to verbalize what they want or need
How can you help an angry child?
Behavioral approaches in which parents and children work together to rein in problem behavior are key.
Look for triggers: start noticing WHEN they get angry and what is “triggering” the outbursts.
Find patterns: after a few behavior outbursts, look for patterns.
Be consistent in how you respond: Your response to outbursts affects the likelihood of the behavior happening again. Don’t give in, remain calm, ignore negative behavior, give positive praise and wait to talk until the meltdown is over.
It’s important to realize that kids are not that different from adults when it comes to the things that make them angry. It’s just that their reactions tend to be so raw. They haven’t yet learned all the self-regulation and coping skills that we have as adults, so everything comes bubbling up quickly and at full-force!