Anger is a very common emotion that everyone experiences at times. If a child or young person feels angry this is not a problem in itself. However, it is important that children and young people learn to express their anger constructively.
If anger is ignored it can build up inside and may lead to them expressing it in disruptive behaviour or turning their frustration on themselves and those around them. Expressions of anger can range from mild irritation to full-blown rages, verbal outbursts and physical violence.
Feeling angry at times is as natural as feeling happy or sad. However we often see anger as a bad thing and we may even be scared of it, because of its occasional explosive nature.
Children and young people experience anger for the same reasons that adults do, for example, when they are stressed, frustrated, or feel that something is unfair. They may have been annoyed by something that just happened and are reacting to it immediately. They could also be feeling angry about things that happened in the past, and may be carrying a lot of bottled up anger around with them.
In trying to understand why a child or young person may be feeling angry, it is helpful to think about specific situations that may be causing them stress, for example:
Anger is something that we have all experienced at some time in our lives. Everyone knows what it feels like to be angry or to experience someone else’s anger, and your experiences will affect your response to a child or young person who is angry. It is important to be aware of your own feelings and experiences so that you can respond helpfully to the child or young person.
This video from Family Lives gives tips to help with anger:
When in a difficult situation yourself, remember to stay calm and show them that anger is manageable and can be dealt with.
Don’t lose your own temper, as this shows the child or young person that this behaviour is ok, and it prevents you from responding helpfully.
CBeebies, helping kids keep calm: www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/joinin/seven-techniques-for-helping-kids-keep-calm
Please contact your health visitor, school, GP or other professional involved with your family.
Please consult with other professionals involved or the named person, and to help identify the most appropriate support, go to: www.nhsfife.org/choosingtherightsupport