How Do I Help My Child Deal With Anger?
What do you do with a 4-year-old who threw a battery at a $3,200 flat screen TV and shattered it? It was deliberate. The 9-year-old changed the channel and the 4-year-old said, “I will break the TV!” … and he did!!! Can you imagine?
Well, first of all, I would say that it is not the value of the TV your son broke that is the problem — it is his uncontrolled anger and the way he expressed it. Whether he broke a $3,200 TV or a $10 glass, you need to address and correct the underlying issues that sparked your son’s anger and misbehavior, and teach him how to express his feelings in ways that are socially acceptable and not hurtful to property or people.
Here is what I suggest:
- Calm, controlled eye contact.
- Validation of the feelings: “Sometimes things make us angry…”
- Correction of the WAY the anger was dealt with: “…but there are better ways to express anger and find a solution, such as talking it through.”
- Was the 9 year old being disrespectful and grabbing the remote and changing the channel while the younger one was watching something? (Then that needs to be addressed: mutual respect of all family members.)
- Does the 4-year-old need to be taught to take turns? (“We can watch your show after the other show is over; everybody gets a turn.”)
- Consequences should be specific and natural, not severe. For example, “If we can’t be respectful to each other, we just will take a break from TV for the rest of the day, weekend, week, etc.”
In the meantime, I would suggest focusing on demonstrating mutual respect and listening to each other in the home, and communicating with words instead of reactions…great time for the kids to have a refresher course.
Marianne Clyde, also known as MommyZen™, teaches the principles of peaceful parenting through her website, www.Mommy-Zen.com, and her private counseling practice in Warrenton, Virginia. Marianne is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) who helps clients around the world overcome anxiety, depression, trauma and relationship issues. Visit www.Mommy-Zen.com for encouragement, meditation videos and uplifting advice on how to be the best parent you can be. You can also find MommyZen™on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mommyjustbreathe. Telephone: 540-347-3797