It’s frightening. It’s powerful. It jolts parents all across the globe. It may even be parents’ worst nightmare. But it’s a worldwide known natural inevitability.
All children get angry. Anger is as universal as wars ending nothing.
Sadly we don’t learn how to deal with anger in parenting school. There is no parenting school! There are no schools to teach us how to deal with emotions. And unknowing parenting can cause serious amount of trouble in the world. Awareness is power!
And when it comes to anger, this ginormous universal feeling, this frightening enigmatic emotion that parents have such a hard time dealing with – and unintentionally mistake for misbehavior — know-how is an unbelievable superpower that can save Parentopolis — and Kidtown — from a lot of pain and regret. And anger. Naturally.
An angry child is just the tip of a serious, secret, titanic iceberg.
Wouldn’t life be so much easier if all parents knew how to reach out for their angry child?
If your answer is yes, but you still don’t believe me — I understand. You don’t know me. Then let me comfort you with this overwhelming intel. Did I figure it out all by myself? No. Twenty years studying, researching and working with children helped me figure it out. And discover these incredible truths about children. When you research human behavior, you start seeing patterns and discovering how the whole human mechanics work. And we are so mistaken about kids.
It may look odd at first. But once you realize what’s going on inside of you and inside your child, you’ll find aha moments everywhere! When children rage, they are, in fact, communicating. They are begging for our help. And longing for connection.
Which makes it harder because disconnection is the mainstream. We can all operate under disconnection perfectly. Although we are all biologically wired for the opposite. How odd is that?
Why is it so hard for parents to deal with an angry child? Point blank? The reason is in equal parts easy and intricate. Most parents grew up with their big feelings scolded. Believe it or not, all of us raged, were angry or raised our hands at our parents at some point. We just don’t remember it anymore.
Most of us were taught we weren’t allowed to manifest our big feeling by raging. That’s another reason why it’s so hard to cope with this matter.
We might not understand now why our children get so angry. Everything was fine right now, what in the world happened for my kid to snap like that? Right?
Rage is a manifestation of big feelings. Children can’t come up to you and say: ”I’m so frustrated these Lego pieces keep falling down and you keep distracting me.” A 3-year-old can’t tell you: “I saw the teacher at school yelling at my best friend and I felt indignated. And he cried. And I felt bad because he cried and I felt so impotent I couldn’t help him.”
Children act and react the way they can and know how. The way we, as parents react to those manifestations is what makes the difference.
It’s scary. It’s confusing. I know. But it’s even scarier for them. They are not giving you a hard time. They are having a hard time.
Managing our own emotions before addressing to an angry child and understanding why it makes us pop when a child rages, being familiar with what happens inside a child’s brain: all those factors are key.
An angry child communicates huge feelings. Or deep wants. Or deep unwants. Under the surface of anger, deep hurts are buried. Connection is key. Have you ever tried to unlock a door with a pillow?
When your child is angry, stay with her. You will be under fire, but stay with your child. You know when you feel fine and all of a sudden you go into the kitchen and realize you have the tower of dishes to wash? You are your child’s safe harbor.
We all need someone to unburden our troubles with. Children are no different. If your child trusts you, if she feels she can unburden her big feelings with you, she will blow off her steam in front of you. Believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
Here are three things that you can do.
Nothing: Nothing? I know, I know. Your face is like that flabbergasted Facebook emoji right now. But nothing is the best thing to do. When a child rages at you she’s not really raging at you. Being still allows the child to unburden what’s bothering her and will be able to recover in your warmth.
“I’m here for you” is enough. And then be still and wait. Like in the song. With arms wide open.
Listen: Like each and every one of us, a child just needs to feel heard and feel supported when she’s upset. Do we need nagging, corrections or lectures when we’re not OK? Neither do children. A child needs parents to hear her. Not just hear. Listen. Listen actively. Quietly. Without judgment. We always tend to rush to comment or say something back when children talk. A simple: “I see” or “Oh” or silence will do.
Offer confort: “I’m here if you need/when you’re ready for a hug.”These words are magic. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. All you can do is keep on trying.
As you can’t simply pack your bags and move to Bode’s Galaxy.