Why Is My Child So Angry?

by | Mar 10, 2024 | Child Counseling

I get this question frequently from parents. It’s described in a variety of ways and may look like meltdowns, tantrums, and just overall disobedience. As a parent it feels overwhelming and in response you may find yourself responding with threats, time outs, and feeling really dysregulated yourself. And you’ve figured out that doesn’t work. But what if there was another way.

My Child’s Behavior Doesn’t Make Sense

Anger is a child’s response to feeling out of control. If you think about it children have very little control in their lives. In fact, they are being told all day long what to do. There are rules at home, rules at school, rules in sports, and they are feeling the pressure. So to regain a sense of control they feel that anger will help them gain control again. In other words, the child’s anger is the only way for them to gain a sense of power over a situation.

Why Choice Giving Works

One of the skills I use in the playroom and work on with parents is choice giving. The reason choice giving works is because it returns control to the child and as a result the child feels that they have a say in what is happening. And when a child has a say, they are more likely to comply with that choice.

So what does that look like? We say big choices for big kids and little choices for little kids. Giving your child a choice does not mean that they suddenly have free reign to do whatever they want. But what if you give them choices about things they can handle like what to eat, what to wear, or what time to brush their teeth? You give a choice.

You may be asking yourself, so I just give my child any choice? No, you as the parent set the parameters. So what does that sound like? You want your child to have fruit with their dinner. So you might say “Johnny, you can choose to have an apple or you can choose to have a banana? Which do you choose?” In that moment, you gave your child a say. You returned some of the control to your child. You still set the guidelines but you empowered your child to make a choice. Choice giving allows children to practice decision making, personal responsibility and self-control.

When children feel they have a choice, we often see the power struggles diminish significantly. So next time you recognize your child may be vying for power, try choice giving.

Are you wondering if play therapy is right for your child? Give us a call or send us a text at 832-521-8809 to schedule your free parent consultation.

About the author:

<a href="http://collectivehopecounseling.com/about" target="_blank">Stephanie Rodenberg-Lewis</a>

Stephanie Rodenberg-Lewis

Stephanie is a licensed professional counselor, a registered play therapist, a national certified counselor and a certified school counselor. She has over 17 years of experience working with children as a classroom teacher, school counselor and licensed therapist. She founded Collective Hope Counseling in August 2020 to help serve her community. With her extensive experience in child development, she knew she wanted to work with kids and their families. Stephanie completed additional training in child centered play therapy and became a certified+ play therapy professional in 2024.