Anger is a natural human emotion, but can be distressing to parents when their child’s anger seems to be out of control. Anger is often displayed in very young (pre-school) children who have low frustration tolerance. In older children, anger can be related to Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or even Depression. Symptoms of a child with anger issues may include throwing toys; yelling or arguing with adults, siblings, or friends; and hitting or kicking others.

Helping Children with Anger Issues

A child who struggles to control anger will suffer socially. He or she may be shunned by peers, struggle to maintain friendships, have poor sibling relationships, and be labeled “a bully”. In addition, teachers may label him or her a “troublemaker” , and try to contain or isolate the child, leading to further marginalization.
Counseling can help determine the source of your child’s anger. Recommended interventions for children experiencing anger issues include a combination of individual and family counseling, incorporating cognitive and behavioral techniques. If an initial assessment indicates one of the disorders above, these issues will be addressed in counseling. Techniques may include calming and relaxation strategies, positive reinforcement from family, expression of feelings through artwork, and new techniques for expressing anger in safe and appropriate ways. If the family is undergoing life stressors, family counseling sessions can help a child work through these feelings and improve coping. Together, these techniques will help a child feel more in control of his or her emotions, increase feelings of esteem, and improve relationships with family and friends.

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