Helping Children Cope with Anger

By Leah Davies, M.Ed.

All human beings experience anger. But children, in particular, have difficulty channeling their strong emotions into acceptable outlets. Anger is a response to a real or perceived loss or stress. It results when a person's self-esteem, body, property, values or sense of entitlement are threatened. It is often a reaction to feeling misunderstood, frustrated, hurt, rejected or ashamed.

Children often blame other people or events for their anger instead of assuming responsibility for it. If children do not learn how to release their anger appropriately, it can fester and explode in inappropriate ways or be internalized and damage their sense of self-worth. When children express their anger inappropriately, it may mean that they lack coping skills to deal with their emotions in positive ways.

To assist children in becoming emotionally competent so that they are ready to learn, educators need to help them:

  1. Understand their anger and the emotions of others.

  2. Develop positive social interaction skills.

  3. Realize that they are responsible for the choices they make.

  4. Learn how to express anger in ways that aren't harmful to themselves or others.

How can educators do this?

Used by permission of the author, Leah Davies, and selected from the Kelly Bear website []. 11/2000
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