Thursday, May 25, 2017

What to Say to Calm an Angry Child

Doors slamming. Teeth gritted. Feet stomping. The anger just rolls from such a tiny body and leaves you feeling helpless. You are doing everything you can to keep your cool, “It’s going to be okay” is all you seem to be able to muster. 
Your child is convinced the world is against him and that it is for sure NOT going to be okay. 

 As the door slams, you slump to the ground with your hands over your face and wonder… what could I possibly say.
You are not alone. In fact, time and time again, I am reminded of just how many of us struggle to have the words to say to calm an angry child. We’ve been taught that no child should speak to an adult like that, yet deep down we know they just don’t mean it either.

Here are 13 helpful phrases to calm an angry child are perfect for those heated moments.
  • I love you. It is incredibly important to remind your angry child that you still love them. That no matter what they say to you, you will indeed love them. These three words should be repeated in a calm manner as often as your child will hear you.
  • I see that you are upset. Letting a child know that you can physically see their anger helps them become self aware of what is happening to their body when they are angry. It allows you the chance to talk to them about the situation without trying to solve the problem immediately.
  • It is okay to be angry. Validate their emotions. Yes, they might be going off the deep end over something you don’t truly understand, but right now that doesn’t matter. They need to see the rational adult validating their feelings.
  • Would you like my help? You might have read that the best suggestion for an angry child is to give them a hug. However, some children will downright refuse any touch or help in their most heightened emotions. Giving them choice puts ownership on them and allows them the ability to accept or deny your strategies and help.
  • I wonder if… Children don’t always have the ability to know why they are upset and what is the underlying cause of their frustrations. Offer an idea such as “I wonder if you need to eat something. I wonder if you could use a nap. I wonder if you need a hug.”
  • I am going to… When your child is screaming at you or stomping, they are often looking for your reaction. Staying calm and collected is essential. However, letting your child know your moves and plans is also key in letting them know what is coming next. “I am going to wait over here until you are ready. I am going to move closer to you so you know where I am. I am going to wait out in the hall until you finish screaming.
Posted by Kids Are Special in BEHAVIOR and in Parents
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