All parents want the best for their children. A child is highly dependent on parents for lessons on life and how to navigate the world. If a parent wants to set their child up for success, they should strive to teach them how to handle their emotions in a healthy way. If your child is dealing with repressed anger you should consider different elements that can be causing it and how to then treat it.
Analyze If You Lash Out
As a parent, most your energy is consumed by caring for your child. Whether you work or stay at home your hands are full 24/7. Parents have a lot to handle. You are expected to be on top everything and do such seamlessly.
Pay attention to how you handle this pressure, you may be facing stress, anger, or frustration. if you don’t have any time to decompress your emotions healthily you will likely be short of patience with your munchkin and lash out. This may cause your child then act out in other areas or retreat into a shell.
To identify whether you might be prone to lashing out, here are a list of common symptoms of repressed anger from Haley Therapy Counseling: chronic fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, sarcasm, passive aggression, and muscle tension/pain. If it is the case that you lash out then try incorporating breathing techniques to help you release negative emotions in a positive manner.
Create a Safe Zone
The world can be a scary place for a kid who doesn’t fully understand their emotions and the way things work. Making your child feel safe while they express their emotions is extremely important. Try to establish a safe zone for your little one. You may use a safe word or designate an area for the purpose of your child’s expressions. When you use your safe word or enter the safe zone they will understand it means they are now free to release any anger, sadness, or frustration.
In this safe zone, allow your child to act out all their negative emotions. Allow the child to release anger by screaming, stomping on the ground, or squeezing a stress ball. This may seem like a destructive habit but it allows the child to release the negative which if built up can cause long-term damage. In fact, a study by the Journal of Psychosomatic Research notes that emotional suppression can negatively impact a person’s physical health. Keep your kid mentally and physically healthy by allowing them to let it out. This will help the child become self aware, learning to regulate which social behaviors are acceptable in different situations.
Empathize with your child’s feelings
Another aspect to your child’s ability to cope with their emotions is for you to acknowledge their feelings and desire to understand why they are upset even when they misbehave. Being seen and heard by you shows that your child is important. It is essential for children to have self respect and love for themselves and for others.
The more self-respect your child has the less likely they will hoster negative emotions. Self-Esteem and Emotion: Some Thoughts about Feelings, reveals “people with low self-esteem tend to feel shame more than others; while gender mediates the feeling of offense, especially in family contexts.”
If your little one starts screaming, do not be afraid to let your child know that that behavior is not acceptable. However, be sure to ask about your child’s temper tantrum once slightly calmed so they know you care. Many children will lash out if they feel they do not receive sufficient attention, love, and support, therefore being empathetic will keep your child from lashing out over a root cause of this sort.
Build their Emotional Intelligence
The Huffington Post notes, “If we foster EQ with our children when they are young, we are setting them up to communicate well, develop strong relationships, negotiate tricky situations, be leaders in their field.” Helping them understand their emotions will help have the tooself they need to manage their anger and channel their emotions and thoughts towards a happier and more satisfied life.
These are three common tips for building your child's EQ that I have found success with:
Bring awareness to emotions. Have your child label their emotions and identify which one they are overwhelmed by. Frame it as a game where you ask them to state their emotion and guess what someone else’s emotion is when in social environments.
Encourage happy feelings and thoughts by pointing out elements that cause seem happiness as it unfolds. For example, point out that they might want to sit outside because it made them feel calm before.
Lead by example. Explain your own feelings and responses to help your child understand the cause and effect of emotions, thoughts, and actions.
Addressing your child’s anger, showing them how to release it, and helping them become self disciplined through a strong EQ foundation will allow your child to blossom into a healthy individual. Lead by example and your child is sure to be in great hands.
Linette Garcia is a contributing writer for Online Counseling Programs, a website that offers extensive resources surrounding counseling degrees, mental health education, and related professions. She also is a proud mother of three and spends her spare time cycling.