Do anger control problems run in families?

Richard Walsh
Social Work
Yes. Two overiding factors are often at work here. Genetics and learned behavior. As children we learn from the families that raised us as well as the communities we live in. Such learning can occurr via modeling (watching others) or reinforcement (being rewarded for an action). In the first case a child observing violence is more likely to engage in violent or angry behavior. If a parent or other authority figure does not intervene, allowing the child to behave in an angry or bullying manner this only perpetuates the problem. Children that are encouraged to use verbal means to have their needs met are less likely to use anger to get what they want. Reinforcement of angry or bullying behavior (getting what the person wants from using the behavior) again strengthens or perpetuates the behavior. The role of genetics, while still unclear, can be a factor in anger control problems. Often psychiatric illness, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and other organic factors can be the cause of angry behavior. These need to be evaluated by a professional. There is evidence that many psychiatric illnesses have a genetic basis. Conditions such as Bi-Polar disorder seem to run in families. Finally, anger contol issues can be a result of a person abusing alcohol or drugs. There is hope, since there are many solutions and treatments available to help resolve anger control problems.

Unfortunately, anger control problems can run in families. As children see certain behaviors and attitudes modeled, they may pick up on them and carry them over into their lives. Anger patterns can be found in families, which is one reason what it is important to deal with anger control issues.

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