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November 12, 2013
Teaching Children About Anger
Anger is a common problem in family life, especially among siblings. Although it’s very frustrating for parents, a wise mom or dad can use anger episodes to teach kids some valuable lessons about anger control and dealing with emotions.
First, empathize with your child about the offense. “I can see why you’re upset. That makes sense.”
Second, if the offender was wrong, acknowledge that fact. “Your brother was wrong to continue to tease you after you asked him to stop, but that doesn’t mean you can be unkind to him.”
This kind of statement is helpful because children often feel that their anger is justified when the other person is wrong. By agreeing that the other person is wrong, but still correcting for angry response, the parent shows that a wrong action doesn’t justify meanness in return. Children need to understand that even if the other person is wrong, their own response is very important.
Third, talk about alternative responses. Children need to learn that sometimes they should confront and other times they should let the offense go. Romans 12:18 is a great verse for children caught in relational problems: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
You can’t always change the other person, but you can control your response. God gave us anger and other emotions to help us sense things about life. Those who save up anger out of self-protection, however, are making a mistake. By teaching your children how to give and receive forgiveness, you will equip them with tremendous skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.
For more ideas about emotions, consider the book, Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character In You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. The chapter is entitled “Honesty: Giving the Gift of Integrity.”