‘I’m a psychologist and here are 4 ways to teach your kids how to manage their anger’

Happy and successful children learn how to manage their anger from a young age

Closeup of an adorable little girl standing with arms crossed and looking upset while being scolded and reprimanded by her angry and disappointed mother at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Navigating our kid’s emotions can be a tricky business – especially when you’re faced with an angry child. 

Tantrums and outbursts are probably quite frequent in your house right now, with the ‘I’m not going to school today!’ argument at the centre of it all. But when you think you've tried every discipline hack in the book, know that there are other ways to help children manage their anger. Because contrary to what you might think, anger is actually a healthy emotion, claims child psychologist Jazmine McCoy. And although you’d be forgiven for wanting to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible, the founder of The Mom Psychologist says that treating each confrontation as an opportunity could help your child learn how to deal with their anger in a healthy way. After all, research conducted at George Mason University suggests that self-regulation (managing emotions and impulses) is beneficial to children’s mental health, improving their cognitive performance and positively impacting their ability to make friends at school. The end result? A happy and successful child, Jazmine says. 

There’s no need to walk on eggshells when you feel like your child might explode with rage either – instead, try facing it head on: “Anger is an emotion that’s a message,” says Jazmine. “It’s here to tell us something important. So let’s pay attention to it.”

4 ways to help your child cultivate healthy anger

1. Implement clear boundaries

It’s tempting to question why they’re acting this way, but it may help for your child to know that you're on the same team. Jazmine recommends parents make it clear that they are here to help and that they acknowledge how their child is feeling in the moment. But that’s not to say door-mattery is on the cards, as Jazmine said you can still state boundaries and reiterate that they must not be crossed. “Say your child gets angry and starts to yell. You can draw a boundary: ’Hey, [this is] important. I want to hear what you have to say. But it is hard to understand when you’re yelling ... Let’s calm our bodies down.”

2. Acknowledge your child’s emotions

Often, kids won’t have the emotional maturity to communicate how they’re feeling without having an angry outburst or getting upset – and that’s where you come in. In a post on her Instagram (@themompsychologist), Jazmine suggests making your child feel seen and heard by saying: “Wow, you’re really upset about this. When you’re ready, I’d love to hear more about what’s going on for you and what you need.” By doing this, you’ll be able to have a rational conversation and talk things through.

A post shared by Dr. Jazmine | Parenting

A photo posted by themompsychologist on

3. Try to deescalate the situation

Deep breathing is useful for stressful situations, particularly when it comes to kids, so instead of saying ‘Take a deep breath for me’, do the practice together, and your child might respond better if they realise you’re not trying to force them into something.

4. Don't fight fire with fire

We understand that it's not realistic to approach every situation with your child perfectly so it comes down to the messages we send and how we model our anger, says Jazmine. “Do we just yell and [then] pretend like nothing ever happened? Or do we say, ‘You know what, I feel frustrated, I take accountability, I’m apologising, and this is how I’m going to change [and] cope with those feelings. And I’m going to model this for you."

By modelling this type of behaviour, it'll give our kids the confidence to know that anger is OK, as well as how to deal with it in a healthy way.

Parenting is a minefield and you might be wondering, is lying to your kids OK or the four TikTok parenting trends that are well worth your while.

Daniella Gray
Family News & Wellbeing Writer

From building healthy family relationships to self-care tips for mums and parenting trends - Daniella also covers postnatal workouts and exercises for kids. After gaining a Print Journalism BA Hons degree and NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at Nottingham Trent University, Daniella started writing for Health & Wellbeing and co-hosted the Walk to Wellbeing podcast. She has also written for Stylist, Natural Health, The Sun UK and Fit & Well. In her free time, Daniella loves to travel, try out new fitness classes and cook for family and friends.