What causes anger issues in a child? (8 possible causes)

What causes anger issues in a child? (8 possible causes)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: What causes anger issues in a child?

We will give you 8 possible causes for your child’s tantrums and anger outbursts. We will also teach you how to help your child overcome anger. 

What causes anger issues in a child?

Parents worry about their child’s behavior, asking Why is my 5 years old so angry and aggressive? Anger issues in a child usually have a really complex cause behind them. Anger is a natural emotion difficult to handle for children.

It consists of a feeling of displeasure or discomfort in certain situations that disturb your calm in a negative way.

Children often express their anger physically by tightening the muscles, which increases their blood pressure.

Also, other visible signs of anger are sweating, redness of the skin and headache.

Also, their behaviour can be different: they are restless and moving from one side to another without reason.

Other ways to express anger in a child may include: hitting, pushing, throwing toys, pinching, yelling, biting, breaking things, and threatening.

What causes anger issues in a child? (8 possible causes)

Here are the most common 8 causes for anger issues in a child:

Helplessness

The feeling of helplessness for not getting what you want is really terrible. A frustration that burns us inside. But it is temporary.

Powerlessness is usually one of the main triggers of childhood tantrums. In that case, it helps to help the child learn to cope with frustration and understand that you cannot get everything you want.

Disappointment

It happens when the child creates high expectations about something and in the end, they are not met. At this point, the child feels terribly deceived and disappointment leads to anger.

Sadness

 Oddly enough, there is a small step from sadness to anger. Once we have overcome a ‘duel’ before something that made us fall into sadness, we can begin to become aware and suddenly pass to the state of ‘anger’.

Imagine that your son’s best friend calls him a ‘fool’ and tells him that he does not intend to be his friend again. Surely, the first emotion your child feels is that of sadness … but as time goes by, sadness will turn into anger because he will feel betrayed.

It also happens in the cases of children who do not feel loved.

Fear

Yes, another of the basic emotions that can lead us directly to anger. We refer to the fear of losing something.

Imagine that your son, after being the first year of his life attached to you, has to go to school.

On the first day, he may cry and kick, burst into a tantrum. But it is a tantrum derived from the fear of losing you.

Impatience

Children are not usually very patient, no.

They want something and they want it … now! Hence many of their anger has to do with impatience. To avoid this, nothing like promoting the value of patience through games and group activities.

What causes anger issues in a child? (8 possible causes)

Insecurity

 Feeling insecure about something, low self-esteem or lack of self-confidence creates a feeling of ‘anger with oneself’.

The child wants to do something but does not dare, because he does not see himself capable of doing it … and in the end disappointment and dissatisfaction come from not having tried.

Problems communicating an emotion

Many children feel emotions but are not able to identify them and explain what they feel. This creates a feeling of restlessness that explodes in anger.

Pain from old wounds

When there is a scar from an emotional wound (for example, if you were humiliated), touching it again hurts. The child is not aware of why – but feels pain and that leads to anger.

As a parent you should be careful that your child doesn’t perform reckless behaviors.

How to help a child overcome anger

If by anger we mean a tantrum or an attack of anger, accompanied by screaming and tantrums, there is not much to do. Show support but refuse to give in the event that the tantrum is on a whim or ‘affective blackmail’.

However, when it is not a tantrum, but deeper and more intense anger, you have to help the child. You can try the following:

Help your child recognize his anger. Sometimes the angry child is not able to realize what he is feeling.

He only knows that he feels bad, but he cannot give it a name or understand the emotion. It is good that we say ‘you are angry, I know, and you feel bad’

Try to describe the feeling.

Once your child knows she is angry, you can help her realize what that emotion is like: ‘You feel very angry, like a balloon about to burst …’

Help him get out of that emotion.

It is not bad to be angry. It is a basic emotion and often responds to frustrated wishes. Anger also helps us think and reconsider and change some patterns or behaviours. 

You can help your child, once he has become aware of how he feels, to get out of anger by relaxing.

Breathing plays an important role here, but you can also use other techniques, such as mental evasion through the calm boat, the ‘wrath box’ method, or counting…

Any method that involves moving away from the emotion of anger will do.

What causes anger issues in a child? (8 possible causes)

12 techniques to control anger in children

Although an occasional tantrum is normal, parents should strive to control anger in children. In order to do this, consider these strategies to educate your little one:

Don’t lose control as a parent. If you respond with shouts, you only make the situation worse and confirm to the child that his behaviour is normal.

Help him develop self-regulation skills. This way you will be prepared to face any adverse situation.

Give him time to calm down. Allow some space instead of going into battle with it.

Act with firmness, patience and love; the child will accept his role in the family environment.

Avoid correcting him when you feel frustrated or upset since you run the risk of mistreating it.

Teach your child by example. Don’t think the “do what I say and not what I do” trick works.

Let him know that it is okay to be angry, but that overreacting is unacceptable.

Teach him to identify his emotion, using spoken language to express himself.

List the reasons why she is being denied something she wants like candy or TV.

Provide fun activities that help your child channel his emotions.

Praise and congratulate your child for the things he has done well.

Teach her to recognize her faults, admit her mistakes and ask for forgiveness.

Parents look for the best anger management therapy they can give to their child.

What causes anger issues in a child? (8 possible causes)

Benefits of managing childhood anger

Parents need to teach their children from a young age to express themselves, channel and manage their emotions as well as possible. One of the advantages is that better communication between parents and children is encouraged.

Also, the child learns that there are other alternatives besides crying to communicate: dialogue. Showing empathy is another benefit that a child gains by knowing how to control her emotions and take an interest in others.

Finally, help your child understand that you as the parent are the instructor. In case you notice that your child has a very difficult time calming down or if her outbursts are very frequent, take her to a specialist. The expert will have the ability to assess and provide techniques to control your child’s anger.

By treating your child’s anger issues, you are helping him develop a good personality.

However, in terms of personality development, people are still confused about who emphasized the importance of unconditional positive regards in personality development?

FAQ on What causes anger issues in a child

What causes a child to have anger issues?

Anger issues in a child usually have a really complex cause behind them. Anger is a natural emotion difficult to handle for children. It consists of a feeling of displeasure or discomfort in certain situations that disturb your calm in a negative way.

How can I help my child with anger issues?

You can help your child with anger issues by talking with him about what is anger, how do we healthily express it, how anger can hurt us and others. Develop a plan to help your child calm down, teach him anger management techniques, ask for help when needed. 

How do you deal with an aggressive child?

When dealing with an aggressive child you have to respond quickly, remain calm, show your child the right way of doing things and expressing anger. Talk about why we feel angry, have patience. 

Is anger a symptom of ADHD?

Anger alone cannot be a symptom of ADHD. Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion. If you feel helpless in controlling your child’s tantrums and anger outbursts, you may ask for the help of a specialist.

Can yelling at a child be harmful?

Yes, yelling at a child can be as harmful as physically abusing him. By yelling you show your child that this is the “right” way of expressing your anger and frustration. Thus, the child will do the same with his friends, colleagues, teachers – and also later in his adult life. 

Conclusions

In this blog post, we answered the following question: What causes anger issues in a child? We also gave you 8 possible causes for your child’s tantrums and anger outbursts and taught you how to help your child overcome anger. 

Anger issues in a child usually have a really complex cause behind them. Anger is a natural emotion difficult to handle for children. It consists of a feeling of displeasure or discomfort in certain situations that disturb your calm in a negative way.

When dealing with a child’s anger issues, if by anger we mean a tantrum or an attack of anger, accompanied by screaming and tantrums, there is not much to do. Show support but refuse to give in the event that the tantrum is on a whim or ‘affective blackmail’.

If you have further questions or comments, please let us know!

Further reading

Anger Management Workbook for Kids: 50 Fun Activities to Help Children Stay Calm and Make Better Choices When They Feel Mad, by Samantha Snowden 

What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Problems with Anger (What-to-Do Guides for Kids), by Dawn Huebner  

Starving the Anger Gremlin for Children Aged 5-9: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anger Management (Gremlin and Thief CBT Workbooks), by Kate Collins-Donnelly

Anger Management Skills Workbook for Kids: 40 Awesome Activities to Help Children Calm Down, Cope, and Regain Control, by Amanda Robinson (Author)

Train Your Angry Dragon: A Cute Children Story To Teach Kids About Emotions and Anger Management (My Dragon Books), by Steve Herman

References

Childmind.org – Angry Kids: Dealing With Explosive Behavior

Nhs.uk – Dealing with child anger

Ahaparenting.com – 10 Tips To Help Your Child With Anger

Yalemedicine.org – Anger, Irritability and Aggression in Kids

Psychologytoday.com- Children’s Anger Management Strategies That Work

What causes anger issues in a child? (8 possible causes)

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.