How do I control my four year old’s anger/awful behavior at home?
Helping a young child with behavior issues can be difficult and stressful. It is important to keep in perspective that anger is an expressive emotion for the child and it is not wrong to be angry.
Emotions, of course, are our expression and reaction to our surroundings and environment and that is completely normal and expected. A child’s expression of anger is typically how they express sadness and frustration.
I find that The Child Development Institute has a great article on how to understand and approach helping a child to express and cope with anger and frustration feelings.
Here is a great bullet point or checklist to consider when addressing an angry and/or upset child:
- Catch the child being good.
- Deliberately ignore “the behavior,” not the child that can be tolerated.
- Provide physical outlets and other alternatives.
- Manipulate the surroundings, substitute the “problem activity(ies).
- Use closeness and touching, even a soft voice and calming tone.
- Be ready to show affection (if psychologically appropriate.)
- Ease tension through humor.
- Appeal directly to the child. Express your feelings and kneel down at their level.
- Explain situations, especially the one causing the stress.
- Use physical restraint (when appropriate) and/or remove child from environment.
- Encourage children to see their strengths as well as their weaknesses.
- Use promises and rewards, not bribery. (I’d stay away from food or candy rewards)
- Say “No!” Establish limits and boundaries children can function freely within.
- Tell the child that you accept his/her angry feelings, but offer other suggestions for expressing them.
- Build a positive self-image.
- Use punishment cautiosly (never physical.)
- Model appropriate behavior.
- Teach children to express themselves verbally.
Click on the link below for the full article and more on this topic.