Are you feeling frustrated and stressed because you’re not sure how to deal with your angry child? Does it seem that no matter what you do your child still reacts in anger? If so you’re not alone. Many parents feel the same and wonder what to do. To help understand common mistakes parents make when dealing with their angry child and what a parent can do to successfully handle their angry child, I have interviewed psychotherapist Michael G. Quirke.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“My name is Michael G. Quirke and I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. My practice is in the San Francisco Bay Area. The major focus of my psychotherapy practice is helping men and women stop anger from harming their relationships. Most of my clients struggle with either having difficulty with their own anger, or with the anger of someone they are close to. I have been running anger skills groups for years and work with individuals, couples and families.”
What are common mistakes parents make when dealing with their angry child?
“There are several common mistakes that I see parents make. The most common ones are that the parents either comply with the child’s anger and some how reward or indulge the child’s anger. Or, the parent finds some way to also react in anger. They may retaliate against the child by attempting to use discipline as a way to express their own anger rather than teach the child emotional skills.”
“Many children who have chronic anger or oppositional behavior come from families where there is a lot of blame, criticism and defensiveness. A common mistake that some parents make is the that they get caught up in blaming the child for their anger and miss the tense emotional atmosphere that exists in the family relationships.”
What type of impact do those mistakes of the child’s overall well being?
“These children will often develop behavioral problems, anxiety, and depression and have difficult peer relationships. The children often grow up to have relationships that are tense, angry and insecure.”
What are some effective ways parents can deal with their angry child?
“I suggest that parents take a skills based approach. It’s important that parents have emotional regulation skills themselves so that they can teach their children how to recognize and manage all their emotions. Children need to be taught how to do this, just like they need to be taught all sorts of life skills. When parents teach their children emotional regulation skills, they raise children that are socially and emotionally intelligent. It’s also important that parents get help understanding the function or the purpose of their child’s anger. Anger in children is an important signal that needs to be understood. It’s a sign that the child needs something. The function of a child’s anger can be hard to determine if you are stressed out, short on time, impatient or if you come from a family of origin that had anger issues.”
Thank you Michael for doing the interview on how to deal with an angry child. If you would like more information on Michael G. Quirke you can check out his website on www.michaelgquirke.com.
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