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We have been having problems with our 7 year old daughter who’s angrier than average. Her extreme tantrums don’t seem normal to me.
She gets frustrated easily and likes to do things on her own. She gets really angry when she can’t do things right. But in all of this, she still refuses to accept help. She likes to build things but gets extremely angry when they fall apart.
When she gets hurt, she refuses to be comforted. If another kid interrupts her talking or doesn’t listen to her when she’s talking, she blows up. Sometimes she hits kids who make her angry or throws things at them. When I try to tell her to take deep breaths, she just screams in rage. I try to talk to her and show affection but she pushes me away.
How do I deal with her anger? It’s so frustrating not knowing how to handle her emotions.
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It's great that you recognize that your child is struggling with their emotions. Since you mention the phrase 'more than normal', I think it would be a good idea to seek advice from a doctor or health care professional. There could be a bit more going on that they could help with. Other than that, it's helpful to remember that the child is having a hard time rather than them trying to give you a hard time. You could try talking to your daughter about her anger when she is calm and come up with some strategies together for things she can do to help calm down when she feels angry. Best of luck!
From your post, it sounds as if your daughter is having difficulty regulating her emotions. Before talking about methods to assist with this, I would like to comment on the fact that expression of extreme anger can also be as a result of other issues and it may be worthwhile to take her for a check with your paediatrician to ensure that there are no underlying medical or psychological issues that need attention. From what you say, it does sounds as if your daughter is somewhat of a perfectionist and if she is unable to master a task, this might cause frustration and anger.
By age 7, a child should have learned to regulate their behavior well enough to waylay meltdowns, but if not then it might be time to explore other things that can cause these moments of explosive anger. Anxiety, sensory processing issues, ADHD, and autism are just some of the possible causes of aggressive and angry behavior.
One tool that is helpful to some parents is to ignore negative behavior and reward positive behavior and at age 7, incentives for good behavior may be a useful behavior modification tool. You can consider a star chart with a small reward after a certain number of stars have been accumulated. It is important to remember that children throwing tantrums or having meltdowns can pose a danger to themselves or to others and so you do need to make sure to move your child to a safe space if this happens.
As a parent, the best advice I can offer is to remain calm, confident, and consistent when this behavior occurs. By doing this you model the type of behavior you would like to see in your child while still showing them that you are a safe space.
We have similar moments with my 7-year-old. He's extremely mature, but sometimes I feel like that backfires and he blows up from having to be on his A-game all the time. Some advice that I have gotten is to give him music and headphones to listen to in his own space. This sometimes helps him calm down but I make sure he knows that I am here and ready for him when he wants to talk.
And sometimes, that's just all I say, "I'm here for you, I love you, and ready to talk when you are". Keeping it simple allows him to digest it while he's in a moment. I don't repeat it, I sit with him or give him his space, and with time, we work through it.
There are two really great workbooks available, that are on a kids level, and the activities are really, really good at helping a child understand what is the cause of their anger, and then how to effectively monitor triggers and respond instead of react. It may seem like a feat in itself to get your daughter to sit down and go through a workbook, but the engaging stories and down-to-earth, simple tactics in these two books really do seem to help. They have even helped some adults!
I think one of the keys to anger management with kids is to help them ask the right questions - "What just happened that makes your stomach hurt?" or "Can you tell me how your body feels right now?" These kinds of questions help them get to what happens in their body when they get angry, helps them to focus on something logical instead of emotional, and may help them identify what is the root of the anger.
Personally, and I am not educated in child psychology, but I think that getting to the root of the issue may be more effective than disciplining the outbursts. I think the goal could be more of a "find a solution" instead of "apply a band-aid." There may be an underlying, serious reason why your daughter feels angry and has such hostile reactions. Helping her to get to that reason will ultimately provide her with better coping skills now, and in many other areas, as she gets older. She may also look at you as someone who wants to help her be a better version of herself, than someone who thinks she "is bad."
The two books are "Anger Management Skills Workbook," and "Anger Management Workbook for Kids" (this one is a few years old). Something you could try, as well, is an incentive to work through a chapter of the book. Not only are you providing a thing your daughter would like, but you're providing her with tools for her box of development for her future. Best to your family!
I have the same problem with my 7-year-old grandson. His temper runs fast and hot. What helped us help him was reading books about emotions and ways to control his anger. Once he could interpret what he was feeling; frustration, anger, hurt, confusion, he had a better grip on his responses. To help with his rage, reading about (and practicing) techniques to handle his angry feelings enabled him to control the situation. Gradually his outbursts began to lesson. He can now practice his "choice" anger management techniques of walking away or going to his room without parent cueing. Soon he is back, smiling and able to jump back into whatever he was doing before his outburst.