How can I teach my child healthy anger management skills?

Michele Borba
If you want your kid to handle anger more appropriately then you must teach her a new behavior to substitute for the inappropriate she now uses. Here are a few anger management solutions. Choose the one you think will work best for your child, and then rehearse it again and again together until your child can do it without your guidance when those upset feelings kick in.

Use self-talk. Teach him an affirmation: a simple, positive message he says to himself in stressful situations. For example: “Stop and calm down,” “Stay in control,” “I can handle this.”

Tear anger away. Tell your child to draw or write what is upsetting him on a piece of paper. Then tear it into little pieces and “throw the anger away.” He can also use the concept by imaging that his anger is slowly leaving him in little pieces.

Teach abdominal breath control. Teach the method with your kid sitting in a comfortable position, her back straight and pressed into a chair for support.  Show your child how to inhale slowly to a count of five, pause for two counts, then slowly breathe out the same way, again counting to five. Repeating the sequence creates maximum relaxation.

Teach “1 + 3 + 10”. Explain the formula: “As soon as you feel your body sending you a warning sign that says you’re losing control, do three things. First, stop and say:  ‘Be calm.’ That’s 1. Now take three deep, slow breaths from your tummy. That’s 3. Finally, count slowly to ten inside your head. That’s 10. Put them all together and you have 1 + 3 + 10, and doing it helps you calm down and get back in control.”

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.