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What is anger?

Anger is the feeling of extreme displeasure and antagonism towards someone or something. Anger can be a difficult emotion to manage. Some kids lose their cool by kicking, screaming, or saying hurtful things.

Holding in a lot of anger can harm your physical and mental health.

When to start conversations

When you notice your child might be angry, it’s important to find time to address the situation immediately.

Giving your child space when they might be experiencing a meltdown can help them learn how they can manage their emotions more easily next time. Still, it’s also necessary to ensure you can draw the line between having angry feelings and acting on them in a violent way.

Talking to your child about anger

Start a conversation

Ask your child if they can tell you what's bothering them. Make sure to express genuine curiosity about their behavior. Try not to ask when they seem frustrated — instead, say kindly, "I care about you, and I can tell that something is making you angry. I'd like to know what it is."

Be mindful and gentle. If your child isn’t ready to open up, try activities to help them feel ready. Some activities that other people have found to be helpful include:

Listening to music
● Dancing
● Writing in a journal
● Drawing
● Exercising
● Spending time outdoors

In conversation

Try not to take what they say personally. It's important to remain focused on listening rather than reacting to what your child might say while upset.

Ask them what made them feel angry or irritable.

If it’s something you did, don’t hesitate to apologize — saying "I'm sorry" can do a lot to build trust with your child.

Next Steps

Understand the conversation

It can be helpful to ask how long they've felt angry. You can also follow up by asking if your child has an idea of what might help them feel better and what you can do to help them.

Putting angry feelings into words often helps children gain emotional relief. Talking about painful emotions with an attentive and empathetic adult often helps children to move through and past them.

Explore more ways to communicate

Discover additional ways you can encourage your child to share how they're feeling.