Dealing With Your Child's Anger

Relationship conflicts aren't limited to battles between the Steelers and Bengals. As James A. Bozigar, LSW, points out, “The parent-child relationship is a true source of conflict. Parents need to understand this and recognize that it’s okay to be angry, but anger is a secondary response. Another emotion, such as hurt, is usually primary.”

Here's a three-step approach to dealing with anger:

  1. Understand that it is okay to express anger. “Angry feelings can build into a crescendo, and we can say things we later regret,” notes Bozigar. “Express the anger sanely and then make a conscious decision to let it go.”
  2. Attack the problem, not the person. “Parents can get caught in power struggles with their children,” says Bozigar. “But they are the authority figures and do need to set limits. Recognize that dealing with conflict is not about winning or losing, but about behaving in the right way.”
  3. Work together on problem resolution. Communicate your anger management and problem-solving skills with your children. Share specifics of how you’ve dealt with anger. You can reason with a teenager; with a younger child, consider using a prop such as a puppet to act out the anger and propose a solution.