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Anger Management for Children
Anger management for the child is about helping the child to deal with their anger. Anger management in children poses a great challenge for the teachers and parents. Making headway in this issue involves understanding the components of the children’s anger, guiding them when they are angry and dealing with them effectively enough to channel their anger creatively and constructively.
The first component of the children’s anger is the emotional state of anger, or the affective and arousal state.
It occurs when the child feels that his or her goals are being blocked, or his or her needs are being thwarted. Anger-provoking situations in the classroom may involve conflict over possessions (e.g. books, toys and space); physical assault like hitting, punching or pushing; rejection due to being ignored or not being allowed to play with classmates; or instructions, like washing hands, that the child does not wish to follow.
The second component is the expression of anger which some children resort to by making faces, crying, sulking, talking, shouting and so on.
There may be another category of children who resort to violence against the provocateur. Some children try to escape or avoid the situation by seeking the assistance of their teachers or elders.
The third component is to understand, interpret and evaluate the anger of the child.
Understanding the anger helps teachers and parents to regulate the expression of anger. Since the children are too young to understand, analyze and control their anger, they need guidance from their teachers and parents.
The best course for the teachers and parents is to develop strategies to direct the energy from anger into socially constructive ways such as:
The thrust of the strategy should be to acknowledge the arousal of angry feelings and express them in positive and effective ways.
Teachers and parents should talk about emotions to enable the children to understand them. They can be made to identify and label various types of emotions and feelings including the expressions of anger such as ‘annoyed’, ‘mad’, and ‘irritated’.
This can be done by encouraging children to draw and paint the figures depicting these emotions. The charts can be displayed on the walls of the classroom. The children quite often get embroiled in angry interaction with each other in the classroom. The teacher should allow the children to express their emotions of anger without judging, evaluating and instructing them to feel differently
Children should be trained in
They should be encouraged to understand and manage their angry feelings in direct and non-aggressive ways. The adults should set up examples in anger management by acknowledging, accepting and taking responsibility for their own angry feelings, and expressing them non-aggressively.
The teachers should read out stories and anecdotes about anger to help the children to understand and manage their anger better. It must be noted that some stories teach irresponsible anger management.
For example, a minor mistake in behavior being meted out with severe punishment is an example of wrong management of anger.
Shouting, swearing, abusing and blabbering incoherently is a wrong way to express anger. The teacher should clarify these states of anger whenever such expressions occur in the stories. Children should also be made to realize the stressful consequences of acting rashly and aggressively. Anger management articles should be included in the newsletters sent to the parents to enlist their support by understanding and providing positive direction to the angry feeling of the children.
Above all the teachers and parents should become role models in anger control and management.
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