Are you concerned about your child’s loud, aggressive angry outbursts? Grab this printable anger chart to help your child tame their anger.
I was pregnant and huge. Already exhausted from just getting through the day with a giant belly.
What was supposed to be a fun outing turned into an epic disaster.
One of my children launched into an awful angry meltdown in Starbucks.
It was so bad, the barista followed me to my car as I wrestled this child into the car seat.
The feeling of all those eyes on me – it was horrible. I could only imagine what people were thinking about my child.
It’s so hard to be a parent and watch your children struggle with anger. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help your children, including using a free anger chart.
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What are signs of anger in children?
First, anger gets a bad rap. It is a normal emotion – like any other feeling, it is not good or bad.
But it can feel bad to both the angry child and the parent so it’s important to know the signs and address them.
When it comes to signs of anger in children, most parents are most concerned about the really noticeable types:
- destruction of property
However, it’s important to note there are other more subtle signs of anger:
- silent treatment
- crumpled or discarded assignments or art projects
- abandoned projects like Legos
- clenching jaw or fists
- grinding teeth
- headaches or stomachaches
It’s critical that as parents we address all the ways that anger can appear.
What are the 3 types of anger?
While the loud and destructive type of anger gets the most attention from parents, there are three types of anger:
Parents often think about the aggressive type of anger. And often we think it’s the worst because it’s most noticeable and disruptive.
Aggressive looks like the yelling and screaming, throwing and kicking.
But passive-aggressive anger can be terrible too. It can look like ignoring, the silent treatment, or pouting.
Passive-aggressive anger in children can be harmful when it goes under the radar. Parents don’t know it’s a problem and can’t assist a child in learning more proactive and productive strategies.
Assertive anger is the most productive type. It is when a person can recognize the feeling, express themselves, and work towards a solution.
When you use an anger chart with your child, you are working towards assertive anger.
What are the levels of anger?
Anger might look like it comes out of nowhere, but it often doesn’t. It can be really helpful to teach your child about the levels of anger with this anger chart.
The goal is to teach your child with the anger chart for children to recognize when they are feeling annoyed or upset and intervene there.
Grab this anger chart to give your child a visual.
How do I control my child’s anger?
So many parents want to know an easy way to control their child’s anger.
Here’s a hard truth:
You can’t control your child’s anger.
You can teach your child how to control their own anger.
Teach your child the levels of anger
Use the printable anger chart for children to teach your child about the levels of anger. Scroll up or scroll down to sign up to have it delivered via email.
Seeing anger represented in a visual way makes the information more permanent. The brain stores pictures better than words.
Teach your child about calming strategies
You can also grab a free printable with 10 calming strategies. Your child and you are going to need to experiment.
Not all calming strategies work for all people and they certainly don’t work all the time.
Plus, you need to teach your child to use them when their anger level is annoyed, upset, or frustrated.
Identify the trigger
This the most important. To manage anger, your child and you need to work together to find the trigger.
You could be thinking, “I don’t see any pattern. It just comes out of nowhere.”
There is a trigger – it just might not be obvious. Your child could have suppressed it with the passive type of anger until he or she explodes into aggressive anger.
Here are the two steps I suggest you take:
- Grab a piece of paper and write down the date.
- Write each time your child erupts in anger, how long the meltdown lasted, and what was the precursor event.
- Get yourself a copy of the book The Explosive Child. I’m not overselling it when I say this method completely changed our family life.
When should I be concerned about my child’s anger?
Here’s my reminder that I’m not a licensed mental health professional. Even if I were, medical advice is best when it comes from your pediatrician or another licensed medical provider.
In general, you should be concerned about your child’s anger if:
- it consistently and negative impacts your family life;
- it prevents you from doing certain family activities;
- there is property damage;
- frequent temper tantrums last past 7 or 8 years old;
- tantrums or emotional meltdowns last longer than 30 minutes.
- in your gut, you feel something is wrong.
Please don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed if your child needs professional help with their anger.
The brain is an organ like the kidneys or the heart. If some neural pathways in the brain are underdeveloped or some chemicals are missing, medical or therapeutic intervention could be helpful
Back to that meltdown in Starbucks. I honestly thought our family life would always be like this.
Using many of the strategies I listed above, plus a healthy dose of the techniques in the book The Explosive Child, I’m happy to report meltdowns from anger are less frequent.
This child just slipped on a wet kitchen floor after playing in the snow. In the past, this would have triggered an angry meltdown.
But this child used some strategies, solved the problem, and moved on.
Make no mistake, there is no quick and easy step for preventing all anger.
Anyone who tries to sell you that is dishonest. Plus it’s unhealthy to prevent all anger.
But there are productive and positive strategies to feeling anger. Using an anger chart for children to help them understand their anger and learn to intervene early is a critical step.