My almost three-year-old Fox gets mad, and recently its happening more often. I notice it when his eczema is flaring up (so he is uncomfortable), when he is tired, when he can’t get what he wants and when he is not given my undivided attention, I’ve even noticed on occasions, that if I tell him not to do something because it’s naughty, that can even trigger his anger and sometimes I have no idea why and maybe he doesn’t know why either. I wonder if he would exhibit this behavior if he was an only child or if his brother wasn’t so close in age. Regardless of if, when or why, we have to try and deal with it and try to help him develop the ability to cope well with anger. Here are some strategies we try to use that may help you too.
1. Ask questions. Ask your child why they are angry. Talking directly to them can sometimes help children work through their anger and calm down. I also ask if there is anything that will help him feel better. Rarely does this approach work, but if I catch it early enough and divert his attention before he hits a peak, I can sometimes calm him down.
2. Affection. Make sure your child feels they are loved even why they have been behaving badly. I have noticed that some of his anger stems from me being distracted, or not paying enough attention and even being told that he is being naughty. Let your little one know that you care about his feelings. Embracing your child might be enough to make them feel loved and accepted, and help to calm a stressful situation.
3. Lead by example. The way you handle yourself and your anger and frustration will affect your child. If we model positive coping skills, which is not always easy to do, especially when your child is trying to get you to react to their bad behavior. Try to stay calm, speak calm then your child eventually is likely to do the same.
4. Praise. Let your child know that you notice when they deal with anger in a positive way. Hell, it doesn’t hurt to praise them when they are behaving appropriately to make them feel good about behaving in a positive way.
These strategies do not always work for us, but we are trying to stay calm and be consistent as other strategies we have tried have failed miserably. We’d like to think of this as a passing phase and hopefully, if we deal with it in a calm manner we can encourage this in his later years too.