Our 9-year-old grandson is a great boy but has a problem with anger. He begins to wrestle in fun with his siblings and then something triggers in him and he becomes extremely angry. As he gets older it seems to get worse. Is there something you would recommend to help him control his anger?
Answer: It’s encouraging to see grandparents so interested in their grandchildren’s character development. Your grandson’s mum and dad bear the primary responsibility for helping him manage his anger, but there are steps you can take as well.
Author Lynne Thompson has written about “Anger Busters for Kids.” See if you can incorporate some of the following into your interactions with your grandson:
- Model anger management. Don’t respond to his angry outbursts with angry outbursts of your own.
- Show respect. Don’t participate by calling names or getting physical.
- Give him words to express his anger. “I know you are disappointed, or sad or frustrated.”
- Identify with his pain. “I remember when I didn’t get to go to a party…”
- Set positive limits. Instead of saying, “Don’t you throw that toy,” say, “After you put the toy on the table, we can go have a snack.”
- Redirect energy bursts that often come with anger. Encourage positive outlets like running, jumping, or painting.
- Avoid power struggles. If your goal is to control, you will teach him to control others.
- Provide a cooling-off period by reading a book together or going on a walk. Then calmly discuss what happened and make a plan for next time.
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