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How to Help An Angry Child

Updated on October 25, 2015
"Anger eventually subsides.  Be there for your child."
"Anger eventually subsides. Be there for your child." | Source

Anger is an emotion. It is a temporary emotional state caused by frustration. The frustration could come from various sources such as home environment, school (classroom) climate, hunger, sadness, chemical imbalances, a feeling of entitlement or being treated unfairly. Every child will at some time during childhood experience this emotion. How can we help a child who is angry or how can we help the angry child?

Anger can be a strong emotion and children need to know it’s o.k. to be angry. Our role as a parent is to train and teach. We need to help them learn how to control and express their emotions. Anger is not bad, it should not be punished or repressed. Accept that the child is angry and help channel and direct them to constructive solutions. A child who is angry does not mean there is a serious problem, although a continuously angry child may need to be diagnosed and counseled as to the source or reasons for his anger.

Anger can be a natural defense mechanism to avoid painful feelings of failure, low self-esteem, and isolation. It may be related to fear and anxiety over situations of which the child cannot control. In childhood, anger and sadness are closely associated and what an adult may experience as sadness, a child may express with anger.

How To Help An Angry Child

Ways To Help An Angry Child

Our job is to teach them acceptable ways of coping. It doesn’t really help to tell them what is not acceptable unless we have clearly stated what is appropriate and acceptable. It is very helpful to discuss anger and other emotions when a child is not angry. Have a few suggestions so they know what they can do. Let the child know that adults also express anger and share ways that help you. It helps them understand it as an emotion when they realize that everyone feels this way at times.

  • Vent with a pillow if pent-up energy needs to be released
  • Go outside (nature is calming)
  • Run around the house a few times
  • Calm down walk
  • Peaceful music
  • Get busy with hands creatively, painting, drawing, play dough, musical instruments
  • A bubble bath or soothing shower
  • Talk when child is calmed down

Learn your child and what he responds to best. Some children respond more to hugs and comfort, others need to release by physically moving and being active. For younger children, there is a wonderful book entitled; When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry, by Molly Bang. It is a preschool favorite with colorful illustrations and an engaging story about Sophie, who is angry at her little sister. It is one of the most effective stories I have read, as it clearly teaches the child that anger is a normal reaction, and how it can be dealt with. A child needs to have boundaries, and understand the anger will subside. It often helps to talk about it afterwards and helps the child to see it in perspective to the situation.

Help your child understand the situation by talking calmly when she is receptive.
Help your child understand the situation by talking calmly when she is receptive. | Source

Connect with your Child in a Positive Manner

I believe the very best way to help a child is to connect with them. Parents who are connected to their children, who spend time with them, who communicate and listen, who work to maintain a sense of well being in their homes, have less displays of anger. A disconnected and/or stressed home environment is more of a breeding ground for anger, aggression, isolation and withdrawal for a child. Parents who argue and speak with disrespect in front of their young children confuse them. A child first and foremost wants to feel safe and secure.

If a child does not feel valued or safe in his own home, it invites problem behaviors and possible mental health issues to develop. The connected parents know and understand their child and will have less tendency to create a home environment which provokes anger, and will stay in control when it does occur. Below are some ways to help maintain a more peaceful, connected atmosphere in the home.

Promote Good Behavior

Catch the child being good. Respond to positive efforts and reinforce good behavior. “I like the way you came for dinner without being reminded.”, “You were very patient when I was on the phone.” “I appreciate you picking up your toys even though you were in a hurry to go to your friend’s house.” Encourage children to see themselves as valued and important members of their family.

Remember the three C's

Calm - Speak in a calm tone and manner

Clarity - Make sure rules and boundaries are understood

Consistency - Be consistent with expectations and consequences

Dr. Becky Bailey - Conscious Discipline

"Anger management is an inside job. If you believe your children are making you scream at them, you have placed them in charge of you."

"Children who seem to enjoy hurting others are extremely stressed."

"You are never upset for the reason you think you are."

Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline: The 7 Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation
Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline: The 7 Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation
written by Dr. Becky Bailey, author of Conscious Discipline: 7 Basic Skills for Brain Smart Classroom Management

Climate Control

Angry, aggressive behavior can be encouraged by placing children in tough, tempting situations or asking too much of them. Sometimes rules may be too confining and controlling. Make sure children are fed before a major grocery shopping trip. A well rested child is less prone to angry outbursts. Keep healthy snacks in the home and feed your children healthy, well- balanced meals.

Use closeness and touching. Young children are often calmed by having an adult close to them while older children and teens need their own space, and yet the teens still need a hug or pat on the shoulder. Children at any age need to know their parent is interested in them and accepts them. Touch helps to strengthen the connection with your child.

Ease tension with light-hearted humor. Turn off the news. Try to maintain a friendly atmosphere in the home. Spend time with your child.

A soft teddy bear feels safe
A soft teddy bear feels safe

Setting Limits

If your child is angry to the point where he may hurt someone physically, remove him from the situation. It’s o.k. and necessary to say NO. Be in control. There is a fine line between discipline and punishment. The goal is to teach your child acceptable ways of expressing and controlling his anger.


Good discipline includes creating an atmosphere of quiet firmness, clarity and conscientiousness, while being reasonable. Bad ‘discipline’ involves unduly harsh and inappropriate punishment, often associated with verbal ridicule and attacking the child physically and emotionally, which can leave lifetime scars and often leads to addictive or dangerous behaviors. Effective discipline allows everyone to understand the boundaries and the natural consequences.


We want to help children learn healthy ways of expressing their anger and in so doing help them understand that they are valued as a person. Anger that is bottled up can lead to health and communication problems. Give your child the tools they need to learn how to understand and self-regulate their emotions. Very often in helping a child feel valued and accepted their emotional state becomes more balanced. There is great truth in the favorite axiom, 'live well, laugh often, love much.'

Thank You For Reading and Feel Free to Leave a Comment.

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub. I know one particular child. I will check out the book and read it to him. Thank you for your attention to this important issue with some great kids just angry.

      Thanks for looking,

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Hi Klara! Thanks for reading. Your job must be extremely rewarding. I'm always thankful for the kids that give me a challenge. Working with kids who already have some disadvantages takes a lot of compassion, courage and patience. It sounds like you are connecting with your students.

      Hmm, about the chicken soup! Did I share the recipe in a forum?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Rebekah, what a wonderful hub! Ever since I started teaching at this inner city school I've learned that a hug or a pat on the back works miracles, and gets them to try their best to try to please you. Children are so innocent and simple! That's all they ever want to do, please the people they look up to.

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom with all of us. Now, go ahead and make a hub about that miraculous chicken soup you told me to make! I've shared the recipe with everyone I know and IT WORKS LIKE MAGIC! LOL XOXO Ciao Bambina!

    • tracykarl99 profile image


      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this helpful and well-written hub - I learned something from it. :)

    • AUPADHYAY profile image



      I think, when a child is in anger, the parent should behave themselves due to the desire of the child and later on when the child is calm and cool, the child should be known by the parents about the reasons and circumstances under which the child got himself/herself in anger. The child are very soft in thoughts and does not know the social behavior, we, the parents are responsible for shaping his life structure. After all, I appreciate your initiation in this respect. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for the hub.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      great hub. Yes, anger is from frustration and some people are more easily frustrated than others. Learning skills for keeping anger in control so doesn't blow to out of control rage is important. Repressing anger is not healthy.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      There's a lot here to learn. Thanks,Rebekah!

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Thanks sundaynews, what a nice thing to say. From years in the classroom, I know some of these definitely work. Sometimes it's scary for a child when they're afraid. We certainly don't want to confuse them about anger, it's a valid emotion and needs to be expressed in a respectful manner. Thanks for reading and taking time to leave a comment.

    • sundaynews profile image


      9 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Very useful resource. I instinctively know that your suggests are on target. Thank you

    • Scarlett My Dear profile image

      Scarlett My Dear 

      9 years ago from Missouri

      A wonderful topic and excellent advice, rebekahELLE!

      Parenting is truly an act of Love. Our minds, bodies and memories are so tied up in the chaos of Life, that we all struggle with feelings of anger, often so much so that we are overcome with this emotion.

      Our children, simply want to be seen and loved, as we did when we were in their place ~ as we do now! If we can give some attention on a regular basis to "Family Time", in which we reaffirm or re-evaluate our Family priorities, as they contribute to both our short and long term goals, both parents and their children may find that frustration and anger are much less.

      And rebekahELLE ~ You are so right about those suffering with a child's disabilities, particularly those dealing with emotional issues. There is so much information out there today. Serving as your child's advocate in life can certainly be challenging, to say the least, in this regard. Don't give up! Try to maintain a healthy/positive attitude and work hard to find ways to let go of the anger.

    • sam24354 profile image


      9 years ago from The Mystical Forest, MI

      Thank you for writing this hub. Now that you mention all these things, it seems like common sense, but it is hard to know what to do without some guidance. Thank you!!

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Louise, Thank you for reading and commenting. Actually I have worked closely with an Asperger's child and with his parents. I don't live in any dream fairy tale world at all. I know how unpredictable they are and yes, to us, there doesn't look to be any reason, but there is. There is certainly help and resources for children with disabilities. If your child is school age, start with the counselors. The county you live in should be able to provide you with resources/referrals for assistance.

      I know it is hard, and must be very frustrating at times. I know it was frustrating for me at times as his teacher, but working together we were able to see amazing progress.

      I hope you find the assistance you and your child need. There is help available.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You all are living in a dream fairy tale world. You surely have never lived with an Asperger's child. There's no rhyme or reason for their anger, yet it's still a nightmare for the family to live with...there's no help out there for this condition..if the child had cancer, everyone would be trying to help, with time, money, caring....but for mental illnesses - NO HELP.

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 

      9 years ago from Cape Town

      My teenage daughter was born angry and no matter how much love you give her, she stays prickly.

    • annmeadows profile image


      9 years ago from Mobile, Al.

      My mother always said honey attracts more bees. So it is with our children, parents forget to respect their children and therefore receiving respect in return.

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Tampa Bay

      thank you Esrom and congratulations on being a new father! It's not always easy, but so rewarding. I'm sure your little princess is beautiful. love her well.

      thanks so much epigramman, what a nice comment! I'm glad I was able to help! If this hub helped you to calm down, it was worth writing just for you. stay calm, remember to breathe. :)

    • epigramman profile image


      10 years ago

      I was angry .... until they pointed me in the direction of your hubs - now I'm mellow ... and smarter too!

      Your hubs are like brain food!

    • Esrom Art profile image

      Esrom Aritonang 

      10 years ago from Indonesia

      I love this and informative writing for me, because I am a new father for 4 month princess. he he he...!

    • dogluver1 profile image


      10 years ago

      AWESOME TIPS! :)

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Tampa Bay

      children are like little energy receptors and they feel moods.

      I have noticed that young children are much more stressed now and I believe it has to do with the overall mood of our world.

      do everything you can to maintain a peaceful and happy environment for yourself and your family. spend time with him, playing together, reading, touching. the bath time washes away the tension and promotes calm before he goes to bed. wishing you the best.

      parenting is the toughest job out there, but also the most rewarding when done right, and no one does it right all the time! all we can do is learn what works best for our each individual child, they're all different. :] enjoy him.

    • Anne009 profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi rebekahELLE,

      I really enjoyed this hub and can see some really great methods to calming an angry child. Not many parents even want to admit there kids expresses anger. I know my son must sense days when I am stressed and see frustration all around him- he seems so grounded for such a young child at times, but when he does get mad... it can be intense. He loves baths though (funny for a kid) and I always put nice smelling scents in there and let him relax and even listen to music- its amazing the change it brings on. Great tips- thank you.

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Tampa Bay

      mckenzie, thanks for reading and leaving such a thoughtful comment. that's great how you worked with your son and figured out what worked best. I do believe part of their anger stems from not feeling significant or listened to. good for you!

      ehern, thank you for your comments and yes, I do moderate them so I can make sure I don't miss any! so true, kids take time and some of it is trial and error, we just have to see what works best. sounds like your daughter is doing her best! :]

    • ehern33 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great tips here that many parents should take. I can say that my daughter tries with my grand-daughter and we have to test the different foods that she likes. Eventually we hit on some healthy food but it takes time and a lot of trial and error. Great job!

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      Great hub rebekah! Anger that is stuffed becomes depression. Your suggestions for venting anger were very good. My teen son would rant and rage ... I would allow him to express himself as long as there were no cuss words or that he didn't tear another person down. Interestingly when I learned to shut up and listen ... I noticed his anger decrease and come down to a place where we could talk it through... Sounds like you are one wise mom. :)

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Tampa Bay

      thanks ladies for reading and commenting. it's an important issue and anything we can do to help our children is a necessity in this world we live in now. thanks so much for taking the time to read and leave your thoughts here. :]

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      excellent hub. too many people want to snuff out children's anger immediately, which tells them it is something to fear. it is a feeling, like any other, and should be respected but of course not allowed to escalate. these are all great tips. that book is cute too. :)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      10 years ago from US

      very nice , guided expression of anger, good advices Ms. Rebekkah, Maita

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great advice that we can use for ourselves and our kids. I certainly have to remember to eat before I go to the supermarket,or I'll end up throwing everything in my cart!

    • free4india profile image


      10 years ago

      It is a really good topic especially for those with obstinate kids !

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Excellent advice - it's a great way to refocus that negative energy into something positive. We as adults can do with these great tips as well.

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Tampa Bay

      sue, I agree, a peaceful home is necessary in our world. we need to have a haven to retreat to and raise our families.

      very funny about role modeling, and sometimes we have to show children how silly they look. I've actually done that in the classroom to teach the kids how it looks to others, they always laugh and generally at such a young age, they get 'it'.

      MOW, thanks for sharing. I know physical activity helps for me and helped with my sons while raising them. also very calming is gardening or mowing the lawn. :)

    • myownworld profile image


      10 years ago from uk

      I agree completely with your advice! Yes, a run outside or a physical activity, esp. sports I think work wonders in releasing that 'pent up' frustration. Really enjoyed reading thank you for the great tips!

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando FI Chor 

      10 years ago from Andalusia

      Husbands can be an additional child. I greatly believe in ambience. A quiet, peaceful environment, no loud music or shouting. Children copy us, we must be good role models. The whispering game is another good way to calm children down. And... funny enough, you can sometimes break through the tantrum barrier by pretending to have one yourself, then everyone ends up rolling on the floor, kicking their legs and laughing their heads off.

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Tampa Bay

      yes they do green! they work for any age, but wanted to focus on kids. thanks for reading and for you always great comments!

    • Green Lotus profile image


      10 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Great Hub RE! Well written, thorough and smart. Although I don't have any kids, I do have a husband. You can bet these techniques work on husbands too! I always make sure he eats before going to the supermarket ;)

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Tampa Bay

      thank you alek, I hope it can help parents with their children. I've noticed over the past couple of years that children are angrier and more stressed than ever before. These tips do work. I appreciate your words.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      10 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      This is really good, rebekah,with a lot of good tips for dealing with children's anger


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