How to manage anger
Yesterday's tender baby, after his second candle, started to go into a rage. Suddenly, during the day, for the most varied and 'picturesque' reasons (sometimes mysterious and incomprehensible!) From the point of view of the adult, the former angel turns into a screaming and screaming creature. He cries, protests and strenuously opposes, with all his strength, to every pacifying strategy of mum and dad.
A scenario that every parent has in mind and, often, at the first outbursts of the child's anger, leaves us perplexed. "The adult struggles because he does not imagine the anger of a child who for two years or more was a treasure and now he throws himself on the ground and does not accept boundaries", says Giuliana Franchini, psychologist and psychotherapist, author of numerous books (with Giuseppe Maiolo, Ciripò's cards, Playing and inventing stories with emotions, Centro Studi Erickson).
Of course, it is not easy for the adult to deal with the expression of such a strong emotion in the best possible way, but anger is a completely 'normal' manifestation, a stage in the growth of every child. From the age of 2, in fact, often throughout the preschool period, the child is overwhelmed by these states of anger.
The 'storm' can explode, unexpectedly, in any place and for a thousand different causes: a collapsing brick tower, the missing soft toy, a 'no' from the parent ('Now it's late, stop park, let's go home! ') ... Why does this happen and what does it mean?
How to manage the emotion of anger in children? Responds in the podcast under Sperandeo, Clinical Psychologist of GuidaPsicologi.com
1 Anger is a positive sign: the little one is growing
The parent feels displaced in front of the child who cries desperately and paws, however there is no reason to worry. "It is a great positive sign, the child is growing up and discovers who he is, he learns who he is and what he wants - explains the psychologist. But to do this, he is in a state of constant struggle, he has a hard time deciding because he doesn't know what he is. really want.
For us adults, for example, if it is cold, it is immediate to think of wearing a heavy jacket since we have learned it, for a child, however, it is not so easy: he does not yet have enough experience.
Hence, it often lives a conflict between different emotions, an alternation between 'I want' and 'I don't want' when, for example, the parent tells him 'no'. ", says Franchini.
2 The child is opposed but do not experience it as a provocation towards you
When the 'first scenes' begin, the child's attitude is often very difficult for the adult to accept. So much so that there are those who claim they no longer recognize the child who has become a little monster.
"In reality, the parent should not experience it as an attack on the part of the child- explains Giuliana Franchini. Experimentation passes through every moment of daily life.
Stubbornness is a characteristic of childhood, precisely because the little one has to experience his autonomy ".
3 When anger erupts, wait for it to pass
A fairly typical (and frequent) situation, for example, that triggers an explosive reaction in the child is the 'disappearance' (a real tragedy!) Of a toy he cares a lot about at that particular moment. But even a small accident while playing (a collapsing construction) can give rise to a real 'emergency'.
How should the parent behave in these cases?
When the child becomes intractable, and anger suddenly erupts, it makes no sense to immediately try to calm him down and talk to him. Even worse is raising your voice or telling him to stop.
For the psychologist, you have to wait for it to pass and give it time to go 'through' and 'after' the anger.
"If a child cries because he cannot find a game, the parent can turn this episode into a playful situation by improvising a little, - says Giuliana Franchini. An idea, for example, is to become a magician, starting to look for together with the little one.
In general, however, after he has let off steam, the child spontaneously seeks the parent and, at this moment, it is important. reassure him, pamper him and calm him down. Based on age, you can then discuss and explain what happened, "says the psychotherapist.
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4 When the baby turns 'blue' ...
Sometimes, it can happen that the baby gets so angry that he becomes cyanotic. Of course, the parent gets scared but, at this stage, the bomb is already triggered.
"In this case, it is a good idea to pass a wet handkerchief over his face, - says the psychologist - or give him a massage on his back and console him.
Once he has calmed down, it can be explained to him that that anger is possible to put into a game.
For example, he can draw a picture that represents his anger and then he can cut it into strips. Another proposal is to take a clean empty can and invite the child to scream into it and then place it in a hidden place ", says the psychotherapist.
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5 At the supermarket, when tired it is better not to
Another typical moment, which often turns into an overwhelming situation, is that of shopping. According to the psychologist, it would be better not to take the child with you to the supermarket, perhaps after a day at the nursery or kindergarten because he is already tired.
However, if this cannot be avoided, it is helpful to take a few small steps to avoid an outburst of anger.
"If you take the child to do the shopping, it is useful to give him some homework and involve him in the situation, for example, just tell him: 'You choose oranges or pears today!'. A good idea is also to invent a simple nursery rhyme. and recite it together. Like, 'shop for rehearsals, 1, 2, 3 mom is here with you!' - says the expert.
6 The beginning of the day, let it be pleasant!
Even in the morning, always in a hurry, when the children go to the nursery or kindergarten, the 'tragedy' is just around the corner.
To avoid it, it would be advisable to organize in advance to make the start of the day more pleasant. "For example, it is enough to let the child find the bear on the chair where he eats to amaze him or you can think of a little surprise that amuses him ... After all, for children of this age, it doesn't take much", says Giuliana Franchini.
In general, for each situation of the day, according to the expert, the parent should equip himself with a sort of 'first aid kit' capable of solving the most 'critical' phases.
A sticky star, for example, can help you get through a difficult time, "says the psychotherapist.
7 Agree on the rules. Few but inviolable
Understanding (and accepting as 'normal') the baby's anger while keeping calm (if the baby screams, you don't need to scream any more than him) in the face of its sudden outburst is very important. Especially when it comes from an everyday 'accident' (a game breaks, disappears, something goes wrong for the child ...).
The case is a little different the child gets angry over a 'no' from the parent. In some situations, in fact, the child 'turns on' because the adult has set stakes. Even in preschool age, in fact, one cannot help but define some limits. "We can't argue, for example, about the fact that at 2-3 years you don't cross the road alone. It's not something you can deal with, because it falls within those 'rules' of protecting the child's life," he says. the psychologist.
In this age group, in any case, it is advisable for the child to follow a maximum of 3-4 rules established together by mum and dad. It is essential that both parents agree, according to the psychologist, and are convinced in always proposing the same rules: if there is no consistency, the little one perceives it.
8 Rites provide security. Especially for bedtime
La regularity it is a great resource for the small child, it helps him to accept even those moments of the day that can trigger his anger. Typical is the case of bedtime which very often generates great protests and grievances by children around the age of 3. But of course, going to bed at an age-appropriate time is a 'rule', not something to be discussed. And, in this situation, for example, it is essential that mum and dad support the exact same position ('it's time to go to bed, we read the story, the big lights go out, close your eyes!').
"I am a great supporter of rituals, it is important to give the baby regularity, eat at the same time, go to bed at the same time every night ... When they sleep little, babies are more irritable, but sleep is the final phase of a day.
This is why it is useful to have recurring moments during the previous 12 hours: cuddling in your favorite place, a snack that relaxes the child and ... even the mother! ", Says Giuliana Franchini.
9 For the whole family: an anti-stress space
Commitments, races and stress are something of a common denominator for (almost) every family. Every day is often a struggle against time: according to the psychologist, the adult needs moments to relax. It would be enough to stay calm for a moment on the sofa, read a book, listen to some music.
"It is very important to have gods calm rituals to counteract stress that today is stronger and stronger for all of us and to teach it, then, also to the children. In fact, it's a great asset carve out a few moments of well-being and also offer it to children: 5 minutes of the same music, for example, every day, in the same place, helps to recover energy and strength ", says Giuliana Franchini.
From the psychologist's point of view, if the parent is satisfied enough, in general, the child is too. "We cannot think that the child is a world of its own: if he has adults around who know how to manage time well and are able to relax, he will be more so too.
A moderately satisfied parent has more patience and a more consistent attitude towards their child. And all children need time, love and freedom and adults who want to be with them ", concludes the psychologist.
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