Teaching Anger Management Skills

IDevice Icon Promoting Anger Management Skills in Students

Photo by AlaskaTeacherAnger management is an ability that students can be taught. The following list is merely a brief catalog of common sense behaviors and strategies that teachers and other adults can use to develop anger management skills in children.

Educators should, of course, always remember that emotions are triggers that incite anger, and the keys to individual responses to anger and its control are unique to each particular child.

Create a safe emotional climate — Teachers should create a classroom with clear, consistent, and flexible boundaries, one in which every student is treated fairly and is subject to consistent enforcement of a set of rules known and respected by everyone.

Model responsible anger management — Children emulate behaviors, so to be the best teacher of anger management techniques, teachers must model their own anger effectively.

Help children develop self-regulatory skills — Self-control and reflection skills allow children to regulate their own behavior.

Encourage children to label their feelings — Usually a feeling precedes an angry response. It may be frustration, embarrassment, shame, or any number of triggers. If children learn to identify and label their feelings that precede reactions, their ability to exercise self-control will grow.

Use books and stories about anger to help young children understand and manage anger — There are many books for young children that can help validate their feeling and educate them as to what is taking place inside them.

Communicate with parents — Educators should share with parents what is being done to teach children to manage anger. Such efforts are much more likely to be successful if parents model the appropriate skills and reward responsible behavior in their children.

Phrases that can cause problems

When helping students to manage their anger, there are certain verbal responses that adults should avoid using,including confrontational comments beginning with:

  • “You should…”
  • “You’re wrong…,”
  • “I demand…,”
  • “We can’t…,”
  • “We won’t…,”
  • “We never…,”
  • “You don’t understand…,”
  • “That’s stupid…,”
  • “You must be confused…,”
  • “I’m too busy for this…,” or
  • “You have to….”

For more ideas on how educators can effectively communicate respect and avoid signaling disrespect to students and colleagues, please check out our learning module Interpersonal Skills - Respect vs Disrespect.

Tipsigigaa photo by flickr user AlaskaTeacher

iDevice icon Adult Intervention - Your Approach

Oftentimes adults are faced with situations in which we would have to intervene with angry youth in our daily interactions. In a few words reflect on strategies that you have found to be successful in your approach to dealing with angry youth.

Consider for a moment what you found to be essential when dealing with the situation?

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