At times of stress, children may struggle to manage their emotions. This can lead to anger, aggressiveness and sometimes violence. It’s important to realise that these aren’t necessarily the emotions your child is trying to show you.
Underneath it, there is hurt, fear, frustration or anxiety. Getting to the root of the emotion will help you better support your child’s wellbeing.
A child in distress will experience bodily changes. Their heart may beat faster, they may feel tension in their chest, their stomach might tighten. This is called the ‘flight or fight’ response. They will be less able to listen or take in information.
Allow your child to calm down before tackling what’s going on.
Once your child has calmed down, find a quiet space to talk.
Children don’t always know the language of their emotions, just that something doesn’t feel right. As a parent, you can help your child expand their emotional vocabulary:
Children need to understand their actions have consequences. It’s OK to feel angry – everyone does – but it’s not OK to hurt yourself or others or break things. Having clear boundaries and rules helps a child know what to expect.
Involve your child in deciding house rules and the consequences for breaking them. This helps you stay objective and defuses anger caused by unexpected consequences.
Ask your child to help with the consequences. For example:
Children love our attention and they will try to get it however they can. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to and encourage positive behaviours.
We take your safety and privacy seriously
You don’t have to share your details with us – there are lots of reasons why you might want to remain anonymous, which we will respect. All calls are confidential, and we will always seek your agreement before we share any of your details with other organisations. The only time we will share information without your consent is if we think there is a life-threatening situation, or if you or someone else might be at risk of significant harm. On these occasions we may need to contact the Police, Ambulance Service or Children’s Social Care.
We also share anonymised data with the commissioners of this service. By using Parent Talk, you understand and give your explicit consent to this.
Your email address will not be used for any reason beyond giving you parenting information, support and advice.