Guidelines for Dealing with an ANGRY Child

By Leah Davies, M.Ed.


Screaming at the child.

Embarrassing the child.

Shaming the child.

Labeling the child.

Threatening the child.

Hitting the child.

Hurting the child in any way.

Indulging the child.

Reinforcing inappropriate behavior by giving in to his/her outbursts.



Accept the child as a valuable human being.

Accentuate his/her strengths.

Acknowledge appropriate behavior.

Provide a safe, respectful environment with clear limits.

Follow through with meaningful consequences for aggressive acts.

Provide a predictable day with opportunities for the child to make choices.

Model kindness, fairness, firmness, and consistency.

Watch the child carefully noting the antecedents to hostile behavior.

Anticipate angry outbursts and arrange activities to reduce them.

Understand that anger is often a reaction to feeling misunderstood, unloved, hurt or afraid.

Assist the child in learning and using a vocabulary of feeling words.

Listen and mirror the feelings he/she expresses.

Facilitate communication between the child and others.

Teach the child that anger is a natural emotion that everyone has.

Help the child understand that it is okay to feel angry, but that it is not okay to hurt others.

Provide a safe place for the child to calm him/herself.

Teach the child ways to cope with angry impulses: stop and think, problem solve, sit alone, breathe deeply, tense body and relax, use play dough, count, draw, exercise, rest or read.

Help the child meet his/her psychological needs: to feel loved, accepted, secure, recognized, and a part of a group.

Used by permission of the author, Leah Davies, and selected from the Kelly Bear website []

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