Mothering Forum banner

Expressing anger

504 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  jaidymama
Hi, I'm looking for ways to help my 5 yr old express his anger or frustration.

We're going through family upheaval and he's mad.

I don't want to tell him he can't be mad--of course!

But he is starting to throw things, hit me, and say he's mad at me--I don't take that personally because I know he's mad at the situation not me kwim?

But I don't want him to think it's ok to throw things or hit people when he's angry.

1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Hey, I was just going to post this very question this morning (but I have a 2.5 year old). We generally go with the "Even if you're mad, you can't throw cars/hit people/fling food/etc. Instead, you should say 'I'm mad' and stomp your foot."

I know when I'm really mad, I look for a physical expression for my anger (ice hockey is a lovely way to get out all that angry energy), so I was looking for appropriate ways for a child to express his anger. Hope other people have some suggestions!
my dd is only 3.5 but we've been working on "mad" for awhile.
I think my expectations change as the child gets older and more capable of handling anger...

At first I showed her that she could stomp her foot, jump up and down or hit a pillow. I also showed her that she could scream.
Always saying that it's okay to feel mad, but not okay to hurt someone when you are mad.

Now my dd will stomp her foot... maybe once, maybe twice when she's mad. She also makes a mad face and verbally tells me that she feels mad.

I've tried to show her how to breathe deeply when she feels angry and imagine blowing the mad out of her mouth on the exhale. I have seen her, on several occasions, breathing deeply to calm herself down.

It's a hard one. But great that you are helping your ds work through his feelings instead of repressing them.

oh... i've also noticed how I handle my anger... you know, you're modeling all of the time. I am embarrassed to admit that the other day my dd asked "you having a fit mama?" Because, you know... I WAS having a fit... but she made me laugh out loud. I was very embarrassed and told her that I should have found a better way to handle myself. (sigh)
See less See more
Ezra is just 6, and he gets SOOO mad. I told him the other day I would rather him yell at me than hit me. I know, I know, he's still "disrespecting" me, but when he hits me it triggers a very ugly response that I work very hard with. I can calmly deal with being yelled at. And he seems to need to get that mad. I also have taught him how to growl. We stomp together. Many many times, all I actually have to do is say, "I know you do not like it when ...." I am amazed at how often he dissolves into tears when he hears that I understand what the problem is. In my very humble and only somewhat experienced opinion, 5 and 6 year olds have the market cornered on fit throwing and being mad with the added bonus of often being able to hear us even in their haze of anger.
You mean it's the age?!

Well I'm seeing a counsellor and he told me to get him a punching bag toy--well he has one for fun to "box"--but I don't know if encouraging to hit it cause he's mad is the right thing to teach him.

Any other thoughts?
See less See more
I have seen this question posted before... and it seems that while having a child hit an inanimate object seems harmless, there are some people who believe this also would teach them to associate hitting with a release for anger/frustration. I know, as an adult, that I struggle with appropriate expressions/release of anger. A few years ago, I would have gone out and ran a few miles. My ds is 18mo and looks for something to throw when he's angry (if he's not already holding something).

I like the other suggestions that the others have given... especially the one about taking deep breaths. And I think it's a good idea to emphasize how it's ok to be angry, however, it's not ok to _________(hurt people, etc.). Perhaps give your son suggestions when he's not upset... like practicing a skill for a sport, or counting to 100. Whatever your son agrees to do, I hope that it allows him to express himself in a healthy/constructive way... and that it doesn't hurt himself, others, or toys/property/things.
See less See more
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.