• Help them establish coping mechanisms as a temporary or permanent solution
Emotions play a crucial role in shaping a child's development. It is vital to teach children from an early age to manage both positive and negative emotions, as it affects their reaction to the same in years to come.
Anger is a powerful and complex emotion that requires careful guidance and understanding. Teaching children about the impact and effect of anger is a crucial aspect of nurturing their emotional intelligence.
By helping them to recognise, express and manage their anger, we empower them to navigate social situations and build healthier relationships.
Before delving into helping children understand anger, it is essential to establish a foundation for understanding the nature of this emotion. Emphasis should be made on anger being a normal and natural human response to various stimuli.
It is important for them to learn that how they choose to express and manage anger can have far-reaching consequences to both them and others.
Parents and guardians should encourage open and honest communication about emotions for both boys and girls.
During conversations, create a safe space where children feel comfortable expressing their feelings without judgment by fostering an environment of trust. Children are more likely to open up about their anger once they feel safe.
Each child is unique, they will vary in what triggers their anger, such as frustration, disappointment or feeling misunderstood. By recognising these triggers, they can start to understand the root causes of their anger and help them develop strategies to cope with these emotions.
It is equally crucial for them to understand the consequences of unmanaged anger and the impact it has on them and others. Their personal mental and physical well-being can be negatively affected, leading to stress, anxiety and sometimes health issues. Guide them to establish coping mechanisms as a temporary or permanent solution.
Parents need to encourage children to express their anger verbally; to communicate their feelings. Emphasise the impact of their words on others.
They can learn to express the emotion and link it to a trigger, while being sensitive about their choice of words. Alternatively, introduce physical outlets for anger, such as exercises, drawing or journaling. These activities can provide a constructive way for children to release pent-up energy and emotions.
Mindfulness and relaxation techniques have proved to be helpful in calming minds and bodies when experiencing heightened emotions. Breathing exercises and visualisation can be effective tools for managing intense emotions from an early age.
Anger is sometimes a secondary emotion that masks underlying feelings, such as hurt, fear or frustration. As parents, we need to encourage children to dig deeper and explore the emotions beneath the anger. Once they learn to identify and address these primary emotions, they can gain a better understanding of their anger.
Always remember children learn best by observing the behaviour of their parents, teachers or guardians. Despite what you teach them, they are also likely to mimic your reaction when in anger.
Society needs to consciously model healthy anger management to reinforce the lessons taught and provide real-world examples for children to emulate.
Ezekiel Muriithi is the head of marketing and communications at Crawford International School