Anger in Your Child


What is Anger
Primary emotion forming part of the fight or flight response to a perceived threat or harm. A strong uncomfortable and hostile response
Can also be a substitute emotion - would rather be angry than feel emotional pain.

Why do we have Anger
Necessary and positive in some instances and can be an agent to change

What happens in the brain
Stress hormone, cortisol
Long term anger increases the stress hormone cortisol
Social evaluation and helplessness are also known to increase the cortisol response.

As with anxiety, the excessive cortisol stops your child from rational or at least reasonable thinking. They will hide, run or fight.

Observe and understand first and then discuss with your child the following:

What happens physiologically in your child as anger approaches
Red really quickly
Angry hands
Elevated heart rate
Tight chest
Extra energy
High alert state

Outward behaviours
Muscle tension
Clenching fists
Hitting own head
Tensing of jaw
Tightening of lips

What we can do
Remember In a crisis the goal is to reduce stress and not to teach your child
The more stressed your child becomes the less they will process.
Be aware of the parallel process - parent and child behaviour

General strategy for parents
Build in relaxation time
A quiet relaxing environment in which there is very little sensory stimulation. This may be a separate room a part of the room clearly marked, a large box or tent.

Look for the prevalent, most frequent or the most often used initial action. This is the cue.
In times of calm and receptiveness explain instead of… you will do…

What is the purpose of the behaviours?
Once we know the reason we can concentrate on teaching new ways of achieving this function, not reducing the challenging behaviours. These reduce as a naturally occurring side effect.

Judith Lewis

Independent Behaviour Specialist & Founder of The Orange Pod

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