How to Communicate With Angry or Aggressive Kids

How do you know when your child's emotional needs are languishing?

My daughter can be quick to anger, and her level of reactivity is often my first clue to her current emotional state. Angry kids have unmet needs - and whether those needs are due to a loss of connection, a lack of skill, or a stressed state, they need more from us than just criticism and control.

Your tolerance and how calm and compassionate you remain as you lead your children to better strategies for releasing frustration depends on how emotionally available your own caregivers were.

Are you aware of how you react? Do you stay centered and stable or do you push back against your children's inflexibility increasing the tension instead of de-escalating the situation?

If we choose to stay hardened in positions of power over our children, our punitive attempts to demand compliance will have the opposite effect - they will increase the negative patterns we were hoping to avoid.

Children often perceive threat where there is none. 

Their nervous systems are immature, and our unmanaged emotions can trigger them into a self-protective mode, sending their brains the message to go on the defensive. 

When we take a moment to calm ourselves before we approach angry or aggressive children, noticing what we feel and breathing deeply, we remove ourselves as an imminent threat and they can relax.

A harsh or hurried tone or one which seems uninterested in children's motivation or intention, and only attentive to whether they are obedient, will breed resistance and deny them the opportunity to build their tolerance for stressful situations.

Limits and responses delivered with a neutral-to-warm emotional tone will - with time and practice - gradually expand children's ability to self-regulate and control their impulses.

In this episode of TEACHable Moments, I'm sharing strategies you can use to communicate with angry or aggressive kids while staying present and emotionally available.

Are you ready to receive and express genuine affection and emotion

Problem-solving and direction or advice should always come after the emotional storm has passed. Try not to make lessons out of children's mistakes, but instead, notice the effort it took for them to achieve those small steps in the first place. 

Making mistakes means we were willing to try, and if we want kids to be willing to try again, we have to show them that mistakes are an important part of the learning process
We want them to feel safe enough to look for help when they need it. 

When you use the tools in this video, you will send your children the message that all is well, and when all is well, the thinking brain can come back online to direct their thoughts and actions from a regulated and integrated place. 
Using these tools will change children's physiological state, helping you move them to reflect and refocus on their feelings, needs, and behaviors.

It is within the safe and understanding boundaries of our compassion for their situation that children learn to make new choices

Self-control cannot be taught by controlling others, but by taking responsibility for our own reactions and behaviors.

As you learn to become a reliable model for your children, and a safe home base which helps them find balance, you help your kids grow into thoughtful adults who are aware of their emotions and able to handle themselves without blowing their top.

What is your biggest obstacle to responding with compassion?  How do you most often show your disapproval and which one of these tools do you think will benefit your relationship most? 

Leave a comment below and share your story! You never know, you might just be the inspiration someone else needs to change their situation for the better.

Thank you so much for watching and sharing! And please remember, it's about being conscious - not perfect!

Talk soon,

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About Lori

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