Children have to deal with a lot when they’re growing up. Every child gets angry from time to time. That’s normal.
But how do you know if your child needs help? What are the warning signs your child has anger issues?
Here’s a list of them below:
1. Your child still hits people after the age of six
By the age of six, most children know how to control their impulses to hit. If your child is older than six, and hitting is still a problem, your child may be developing anger issues which can persist into childhood.
2. Your child still has temper tantrums after the age of five
Toddlers and small children find it hard to deal with their emotions. They get overwhelmed and find it difficult to calm themselves down. However, if your child is over five, and angry outbursts, meltdowns are still happening, your child may not have learned how to self-regulate and stay calm when they’re triggered.
3. Your child’s teacher is contacting you about anger issues at school
Most children behave better at school than at home. Partly because of the rules and structure at school, and partly because they feel more comfortable at home to allow their emotions to surface. If your child is hitting children in the playground, getting angry in the classroom or even hits a member of staff, then there could be a more serious problem.
4. Your child often says, “I hate you,” or “I hate myself”
Occasionally children will get so mad they tell you they hate you. However, if this is a regular occurrence, then there may be issues brewing. Interestingly, a child saying, “I hate myself; I wish I’d never been born,” can also be a red flag. Because it signifies a poor self esteem and inner dislike, because of their inability to control their anger which is important to address.
5. Your child hurts smaller children (who are not siblings)
Although it’s not good if children hit siblings, it is understandable. However, if your child hurts younger children or small animals, then it can be a sign that they have a lot of pent up anger and don’t have a filter to stop themselves lashing out.
6. Your child’s anger interferes with their friendships
Friendship issues are common in children, especially between the ages of 8 and 12. However, if your child tries to force children to play a game ‘their way’ or threatens or intimidates their friends, and they find it difficult to keep friends because of their aggression, it’s a warning sign that they need help to manage their anger.
7. Your child always blames others for their problems
Some children (and some adults) find it hard to understand how they may have contributed to a problem. If every time your child is in trouble they blame circumstances, their teacher, their friends, a sibling or you, it shows they have difficulty accepting responsibility for their actions. Blaming others can cause children to develop a ‘victim mentality’ which then justifies them lashing out at others. It can interfere with your child seeing their own behaviour as an issue.
8. You are treading on eggshells, to avoid another outburst
If you have got to the point that you do everything possible to avoid your child hitting, getting angry or having an outburst, then effectively your child is in control at home. When you avoid conflict at all costs, do what your child wants and try to get other family members not to antagonise one child, then it flags up a serious problem.
9. Your child’s aggressive behaviour stops you from going out
If you have stopped going to the park, going to other people’s houses or worry that your child may have an outburst when you’re at a family gathering, it’s a warning sign your child’s anger may be out of control.
10. Your child often throws things or damages property after the age of five
Toddlers and young children may occasionally throw their toys in anger. But by the time they start school they should have grown out of this phase. If your child regularly damages property when they’re angry or throws something (and hurts) you or other members of your family then it’s important to address their anger.
So what can you do?
Some children need help managing their anger. They need to learn skills and techniques to help them develop impulse control and calm themselves down.
It’s important to understand they can’t do it on their own. They don’t have the skills. They need the help of a trained adult or therapist. Interestingly, as a parent, that could be you, coach and help them regain their self-esteem and self-worth.
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