Why Do Children Get Angry
Are you one of those many parents who wonder why children get angry even with the slightest of provocation? Or sometimes they get angry without any reason at all!
If you too are facing such a situation, then understand that it is just a passing phase. Who would know it better than our parents, isn’t it?
When we were kids, our parents also must have wondered why their children get angry, while raising us.
Perhaps you were the sober kinds, but such is a typical phase that comes in every growing child’s life all over the world.
“Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.” ~ Lyman Abbott.
Is it Alright for Children to Get Angry
Right from the time they are born to the time they become adolescents, and then from their teens till they become adults, children get angry. I believe children should get angry, which shows that they are normal!
Let’s be honest and ask ourselves, don’t we also get angry, even when we’re not required to. Even though we are older and mature, don’t we allow the negative emotions get the better of us?
We all need to release our negative emotions lest they harm us, and getting angry is the easiest way. However, a major difference between adults and children is that children have less control over their emotions, and don’t really know how to handle their anger.
Most people think that children are happy-go-lucky and nothing seems to bother them – because they are just kids.
However, children experience many emotions like us, including anger. Children also face stress in their lives, which sometimes becomes much more than they can handle.
Children may get angry if their wishes are not fulfilled, or when they are not happy with the way things are. Their developing mind could only suggest them to be stubborn and get angry when faced with a situation.
So, is it all about learning to deal with anger that applies to us and children as well? Certainly it is, but then there’s more to consider and understand about why children get angry.
“You know why babies don’t hold grudges? Because when you make them mad they let you hear it. That’s how you heal emotionally. Acknowledge your anger and have a good scream about it.” ~ Adam Appleson
When Children Get Angry
Some parents I know put up their hands in desperation because their kids are out of control with anger. Often it is out of their own helplessness, since they really can’t figure out the reason their children are getting angry for.
Perhaps we carry the notion that good children never show their anger, and we feel terrible when children get angry. Some parents also feel insulted at times, as they take the child’s anger to be consciously directed towards them.
We, at times, see such behavior of children as indiscipline and act of disrespect. Things get worse when we don’t consider going down to their level when they get angry. Nor do we take cues from our own childhood about why we used to get angry.
We sometimes fail to think in such situations that there could be other myriad natural and personal reasons that prompt the child to behave so.
Remember, anger always has a reason, and the anger is just a symptom. It is essential to find the cause, and not focus on the effect, which is anger.
When children get angry, it could be due to problems with friends, school environment, inability to study, and coping with unreasonable expectations or unrealistic demands.
Sometimes, we don’t like seeing children get angry as we don’t like that kind of disturbance, because that becomes just another burden or job to handle.
Instead, we expect children to pacify their little minds with their limited understanding and ignore or suppress such feelings.
Weren’t many of us raised to believe that our feelings of anger need to be suppressed? Is it right to suppress the feeling when you get angry?
But when you feel it so strongly, it seems the only right thing to do, and logic fails to overrule that strong emotion.
When children get angry, it is a sign that they feel some pain deep within themselves, because anger is generally a response to pain.
However, it’s a possibility that kids misunderstand their own feelings and incorrectly associate it with pain, thinking it as valid enough to cause the anger.
“Every child senses, with all the horse sense that’s in him, that any parent is angry inside when children misbehave and they dread more the anger that is rarely or never expressed openly, wondering how awful it might be.” ~ Benjamin Spock
Reasons Why Children Get Angry
There are many reasons why kids get angry, but I would try to put forth few reasons that may cause them to get upset. The few basic ones here:
1- Biological causes
You would be surprised, but sometimes there are many biological causes behind children getting angry like learning disabilities, allergies, or even developmental disorders.
Even kids with ADHD have a tough time handling their emotions. Sometimes impulsivity may lead an ADHD child to respond in anger with aggression as mentioned here.
A child who was often restless, irritable, and unfocused in class had outbursts only during springtime. Doctors suggested allergy tests for him, and sure enough, he was allergic to grass, ragweed, mold, and pollen.
Once he received allergic treatment, his moods became normal. No wonder he used to get angry. Similarly, many adults also undergo the same mood swings when they are allergic.
2- Life stressors
We may not know it, but our children can get angry due to so many reasons related to stresses in their lives.
It could be the expectation parents have of their kids where school performance is concerned. Or it could be the home tasks they have to complete, give time to their friends, do well in school, or manage tough situations in the classroom or with friends.
Nowadays with studies becoming tougher than before, if we expect kids to perform beyond their capabilities, whether at school or at home, they can become angry.
Some children get angry even when parents have to move, if they lose a pet or family member, when a new baby is about to arrive, when they don’t have their way, or when a divorce takes place.
While some children may get angry because some visitors or house guests comes to their house and may occupy their space for a few days. This stops their freedom of doing things as they want to do.
Children also get angry when they are lonely, fearful of parents or teachers, not respected, unloved, lied to, if they don’t understand why a privilege is revoked, or if they’re ignored.
Children get angry for the strangest of reasons, which we as adults can’t understand till we learn and understand more about it.
They start fighting and arguing with classmates or even parents, though at other times they are courteous and absolutely normal.
Some kids take drastic steps of destroying things or acting indifferently at school or at home. When you try finding out the reason, it’s because of some problems they are facing at home.
Either a divorce is taking place between the parents, or a new child is coming into the family, or any of the reasons mentioned above. These have hurt and pained the child that caused the anger.
3- Hormones play a major part
Hormone plays a vital part in how kids experience anger. This works more for those nearing puberty because their low tolerance levels tend to make them angry with those around them.
They can feel a lack of understanding and feel restricted to the changes they are undergoing, which increases their feelings and emotions further.
Often understanding teens isn’t easy, and sometimes they don’t want to talk or communicate. It’s best at such times to let them be instead of pushing or probing them to speak as it can react adversely.
Ask me about that with my kids! Sometimes they just refuse to talk or get angry at the weirdest of issues – it does get overwhelming at times. But yes, being a parent I understand it’s a passing phase.
Parenting troubled teenagers sure is a difficult task, but it’s not impossible. The teenage years don’t last forever and during this phase of their lives, they should be given privacy and space.
By doing so, it shows that as parents we respect their feelings and emotions, and we understand the changes they are undergoing. I try this method, and it does work. They are soon back to their normal self.
4- Lack of communication
One main reason why children get angry is because there is lack of effective communication. Children get frustrated because they lack the ability to talk freely about their feelings to their friends, or family.
It can be very annoying for parents or caretakers if they aren’t able to understand what the child is saying or what is making them angry. Children who get angry are often not able to express their anger in words.
As parents, we need to give children enough time and have patience with them, without interrupting or answering questions for them while they speak.
Once they are able to do develop communication skills, they feel appreciated, and develop self-confidence. It enables them to understand that they have someone to talk to who is listening patiently to them.
“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.” ~ Haim Ginott
Parenting: Kids and Bad Temper ~ Dr. Laura Markham ~ You Tube Video
Warning Signs about Why Children Get Angry
According to the American of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children who are at risk for having problems with anger include those kids who:
- Previously exhibited violent behavior.
- Have a genetic inclination.
- Live in a home with firearms.
- Have been abused or exposed to violence.
- Have used alcohol and drugs.
- Have suffered brain damage from a head injury.
- Live in a stressful family environment.
Children who have the above risk factors and show intense anger, repeated outbursts, remain frustrated, are extremely irritable and impulsive should be evaluated for a disorder and need treatment.
We as parents need to understand what triggers our children to get angry and recognize when they feel angry.
We need to also find ways for them to vent their anger properly and have tactics to resolve situations that lead to anger.
“Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children.” ~ Rosaleen Dickson
Over to you –
How do you manage your children when they get angry? How did your parents respond to you when you got angry as a child? Do you know of any other reasons why children get angry? Share your feelings or your experiences as a child and as a parent in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Qole Pejorian