Since our children begin to experience tantrums (more or less from the age of 18 months), mothers and fathers begin to see them differently, with different eyes, no longer as little angels who only cry when they are hungry, sleepy or need affection But like those kids who challenge us and get angry if they can’t get away with it. But, what if I told you that in this article we are going to change your vision of your children’s anger, even see it as something positive?
We owe this perspective of anger to positive discipline, and it will not only change your view of anger, but it will also change your child’s attitude.
Children must be angry
Before you read on, I’m going to give you 3 compelling reasons why you should allow your child to get angry:
1.Your child has every right to be angry
We adults also get angry. It is not like this? So why can’t our son do it? Perhaps the main reason why we do not like our children to get angry is that when they are angry they do not make things easy for us, on the contrary, they destroy family peace, but this, although it is unpleasant, does not disable the Our children’s right to experience anger.
2. Your child doesn’t choose to be angry.
Anger is an unconscious impulse, not a voluntary one. No one can choose to be angry, neither can your child. Anger is an emotion, and as such, we cannot help feeling it. What we can do is control the way we express it. And this is what we have to teach our children, to regulate the way in which they should express their anger. We will see this later.
3.Anger is adaptive, it allows us to survive
Can you imagine that our son, when someone insults him, will not get angry? We can translate this question to any emotion. And that’s what the pedagogue Mar Romera was doing in a presentation at an Educar is everything event.
“Me I don’t want my daughters to be happy, I want my daughters to experience all the emotional platforms, to choose the right emotion at the right time and with the right intensity. I want my daughters to be sad when they lose someone, because otherwise they would be psychopaths. I want my daughters to feel disgusted to reject what they should not accept. I want my daughters to feel angry when someone steps on them because, if they don’t, they will be battered women. ”.
And, as Mar Romera says, anger allows us to set limits, to say enough. Don’t we want this for our children?
Anger is an emotion, and as such, we cannot help feeling it, but we can teach our children to express it in the correct way
Why is my son angry about everything?
It is true that there is an age when our children tend to get angry about everything. “When our children are young, they get angry because they don’t know how to express what is happening to them in another way. Anger for them is not the problem, it is the solution that they are putting to their problem, “Mar told us.
But it is also that our son faces anger without a backpack of tools that adults do have. This is explained very well by the psychologist Rafa Guerrero: “We cannot ask a 3-year-old child to know how to control his emotions, that when faced with something that he is not liking, he knows how to express it calmly, as we adults would. The reason is that the area in charge of doing this in his brain (the prefrontal cortex) is not yet developed enough to do so. Asking a child for this is like asking a blind man to see. ”
“Asking a child to control his anger is like asking a blind man to see.”
In short, our children don’t know how to do it any other way. An angry child is someone who does not know how to recognize his emotion, nor does he know how to deal with it. And here I ask you a question: if you were an adult, wouldn’t we think you need help?
What should we do when our child gets angry?
“Mothers and fathers must be that crutch that our children use to walk when they still do not know how to do it alone,” Rafa tells us. Understanding walking in this context as everything that our child still does not know how to do for himself, also, of course, controlling his emotions, including anger.
So how should we act in the face of their anger?
1.Understand your anger
The first thing we have to do is understand and legitimize your emotion. Your son is angry, there is no more. He has his reasons, even if they are not yours. There is no use denying what you are feeling or trying to suppress that feeling. “We have to educate with the switch of emotions turned on”, Rafa always tells us. “This way, our children will not become adults who suppress their emotions.”
2. Don’t try to reason with him at the time
Words in these conditions do not work, if you have told him once, do not insist any more, he is not deaf, what happens is that in the face of an emotion as intense as rage or anger, the tonsils have been activated in his brain cerebral. “This causes this part of the brain to react rather than respond, which means that the child has no control over the emotion in question. We will have to wait for our son to calm down before we can talk to him what has happened and try to find the solution together so that it does not happen again, “Rafa tells us.
3.Keep calm and don’t get angry
Our son is in an emotional outburst, our mission is to contain him, to restore him to calm. If we get angry, we will be adding fuel to the fire. “Acting in these situations with calm and respect is not synonymous with being permissive or not setting limits, don’t be afraid to speak firmly and assertively: you will be creating healthy limits, giving security, containing a runaway child and reinforcing values relatives ”, says the parenting consultant and founder of ‘Relax and educate’ Amaya de Miguel.
4.Teach him to self-regulate
Sometimes, it is the parents themselves who want and demand that our children control and manage their manners, their bad mood, their impulsiveness and the way they do certain things. Definitely, We expect our children to calm their own anger (total, they provoke it, they will have to find the solution, right?). “Nothing is further from reality. Our mission is to regulate our children, to restore calm so that, when he is an adult, he knows how to do it himself. Our children still don’t know how to do it any other way. You only get to emotional self-regulation by going through hetero-regulation (someone else regulates you) “, Rafa reminds us.
“Our mission is to regulate our children, to restore calm so that, when he is an adult, he knows how to do it himself”
5.Validate your emotion, not the behavior
As we have mentioned before, the emotion is involuntary, nobody can choose not to feel anger, fear, rage. What we can choose is the way in which we express that emotion. Our role is to teach our children to do it the right way. For instance, If every time he gets angry he hits his sister, we must make it clear to him that we understand his anger (we validate his emotion), but that we do not accept that he hit his sister (we do not accept his behavior).
The emotional intelligence expert Begoña Ibarrolla always remembers that “emotional regulation costs more to some people than to others, because temperament also influences (there are people who are very impulsive, very expressive …) but that it is not emotional repression, nor much less. It is learning to express emotions appropriately. ”
Look beyond, find out what’s behind your anger
As the expert in Positive Discipline María Soto always reminds us, “bad behaviors are bad decisions that speak to us of a need. And in the face of their poorly expressed need, many times we only take into account how they express it, not what they really feel ”. This is where it comes into play iceberg theory:
Because It is very important that we know how to see what is behind bad behaviors and also that we help our children to identify those difficulties.s are motivations that are leading him to behave in that particular way.
My teenage son is always angry
What if the one who is always angry is already a teenager?
In this case, we cannot forget that at this stage, our son is in a moment of revision of the limits, of the values, of the norms …Until then they were given by others, and now the time has come to make them their own and not to be imposed externally. It is logical that, often, their way of understanding the world collides with ours.
But it is that if we go into his brain, we will understand our adolescent better, than as Rafa Guerrero says in his book ‘The child and adolescent brain. Keys and secrets of neuroeducation ‘, “is a great misunderstood. Nobody understands why he behaves the way he does it, but it is not his choice, it is that he is genetically programmed to do so. Although we are used to seeing their physical, hormonal changes, we are not aware that their brain is resetting and this causes changes in their identity, their need to experiment appears, to get away from their parents and get closer to their peer group, to put in doubt everything learned so far “.
Therefore, at this stage, we will have to empathize a lot with him. “His brain is working,” Rafa reminds us. When it is finished building, the relationship with him will return to normal.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.