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Understanding Anger Outbursts and Aggression

Have a child that has anger outbursts from time to time? If you are like most parents, you have been on the receiving end of an angry child on several occasions. It is quite common for kids in elementary school to have anger outbursts, but this behavior issue can be improved.

Why Kids Get Angry

Children have anger outbursts for a variety of reasons. Many elementary-aged kids are a point where they want to test their limits and try to assert some control over what is happening in their lives. Anger is a normal part of life and everyone feels it from time to time. What is important is how we choose to handle it, and that is a learned behavior.

Ways you can address anger and aggression:

  • Discuss with your child why he behaves aggressively and how to express his feelings in a healthy way.
  • Teach your child a variety of ways that he can handle his anger. You can suggest that he begin to journal, discuss his feelings with others, and even create an "anger-free" zone where he can go to relax.
  • Keep tabs on anyone else that may display the same behavior. Your child may be learning to be aggressive from someone else. 
  • Teach your child that it's important to apologize if he has an anger outburst, especially if he has said something inappropriate to someone else.
  • Encourage your child to use healthy ways to express his anger by setting up a reward chart. Each time he behaves appropriately, give him a check mark. Talk about how many check marks he'll have to earn to get a specific reward.

Anger is often a result of hurt feelings. Confident communicators are adept at sharing their hurt feelings and are able to avoid angry outbursts. The more you can help your child identify and get in touch with his feelings, the better equipped he will be at dealing with his emotions.