Why is my 5-year-old so angry and aggressive? What causes anger issues in a child?
The truth is everyone, young or old gets angry at some point. As a matter of fact, anger is normal and healthy, when one expresses it appropriately.
However, some kids get angry very often and find it hard to have fun with others. You’ll find them getting into fights and arguments in the middle of a fun activity. Sadly, these anger issues will negatively affect the child’s emotions and life in general.
Let’s check out some of the symptoms of anger issues in a child:
- Change in appetite- some lose appetite whereas others experience an increase in appetite
- Clenching of teeth
- Muscle tension
- Heavy breathing
- Avoiding family members and/or friends
- Loss of interest in activities they once used to enjoy
- Somatic symptoms like headache and stomach ache
- Poor performance in school and other social activities
Now to the main question, what causes anger issues in a child?
Multiple factors may cause anger issues in a child as we’ll see below:
Major Cause of Anger Issues in a Child
1. Opposition Defiant Disorders
Here, the child becomes chronically uncooperative. He won’t follow instructions, breaks the rules at will, and remains generally annoying.
Also, children suffering from this disorder will get angry for minor reasons and end up saying hurtful things to others.
2. Anxiety Disorders
Children may throw tantrums, experience meltdowns, or portray aggressive behavior as a sign of anxiety. Usually, anxiety is a result of heightened activities in the brain.
A child that is experiencing a high level of alertness may make awaken the body’s stress response which could result in fights. Still, other kids that will choose to avoid fights when anxiety levels are high.
3. Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
According to recent research, most people, including children that struggle with OCD will at some point experience intense anger or rage. If you fail to notice this disorder on time, your kids may struggle with panic attacks that will manifest through extreme anger.
Children with ADHD get frustrated really fast that can result in anger outbursts. For instance, if your kid is unable to handle his homework, they may get frustrated which will make their anger issue worse.
5. Undetected Learning Disability
If your child continuously acts out in class or when doing homework, it is possible that the work is too hard for them. This could make the child’s anxiety level rise, leading to anger issues.
Children struggling with autism disorder may experience meltdown and get frustrated, experience with things they were not expecting. Also, these kids usually have sensory problems that could make them angry and anxious.
7. Sensory Processing Problem
Some kids experience difficulties processing information getting into their senses. For instance, intense noise, heavy crowds, or some type of clothes may make these kids anxious and uncomfortable.
And as a result of this discomfort, become agitated.
8. Unresolved feelings
Your child may be going through grief maybe as a result of losing a loved one or even a recent divorce. As a result of these mixed feelings, the kid may develop anger issues and anxiety that will affect his behavior.
The only way to deal with anger resulting from unresolved feelings is to deal with the root cause of the problem.
How do You Fix a Child with Anger Issues
Though medical attention may reduce some symptoms of disorders like ADHD and anxiety, it may not necessarily fix anger issues. It takes combined efforts from the kid, parents, and teachers in school.
Here are some ways you can fix a child with anger issues:
Know the triggers
The first step to managing your child’s anger is finding out what triggers the outbursts. For if your child hates getting ready for school:
- Let him know about the school going time in advance
- Lay out the school clothes
- Help your child shower at night instead of waking him up to shower
- Waking the kid earlier
- Break down what he is supposed to do into small steps
When your child becomes defiant and is going through emotional outbursts, remain consistent on what you taught him is wrong. If you promised a particular consequence as a result of anger outbursts, stand by it by doing the following:
- Do not give in: never give your child what he wants when they are throwing tantrums. Doing this will prove to them that tantrums actually work!
- Praise good behaviors
- Ignore less serious misbehaviors
- Apply consistent consequences
- Stay calm, focused, and consistent
- Don’t negotiate until the child calms down
Train them to put their anger into words
- Give your child some timeout so he can calm down
- Tell him it is wrong to throw stuff
- Ask the child to breathe deeply and then calm down
- Ask your child to say what he wants without whining or yelling
- If they still can’t calm down, let them be until they can compose themselves
- When talking to your child, don’t let it sound like a punishment. Instead, let them know that this is a chance to express what they deeply feel.
- When your child is expressing himself, let him know that you truly understand what he feels
- If they are having trouble putting what they feel into words, offer some help
- If you need to find out what really happened, ask for some time as you investigate
- For situations where your child deserves an apology, ensure that he gets it
- Let your child know that though it’s okay to get mad, it is not an excuse to portray bad behavior
At times, all your child needs is a listening ear and everything will turn out okay.
Set the rules and stand by them
Discuss the house rules with your kids as many times as possible. Let them know what is allowed and what is unacceptable.
For instance, you can say the following:
- No yelling
- If you need to pass a message, say it clearly
- No fighting
- No throwing things
- Don’t hit, don’t push, don’t shove
- No screaming
- No slamming doors
- Name-calling is not allowed
- Throwing or breaking things intentionally is not allowed
Now that we’ve answered the question, ‘what causes anger issues in a child?’ let’s check out some amazing tips on how to build a stronger foundation.
Building a Stronger Foundation for Your Kids
For most children, anger episodes are not too frequent. Kids with anger issues are usually very active, are strong-willed, and often look for ways to vent the extra energy.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent anger problems in advance:
1. Ensure your kids get adequate sleep
Picture this, when you are tired, you may become grumpy or experience low energy levels. Similarly, when your kids don’t get enough sleep, they may become hyper, disagreeable, or extremely angry for no reason at all.
Kids should have a consistent sleeping pattern depending on their age and unique needs.
2. Encourage them to speak about their feelings
When your child is free to talk about their feelings and the reason, the calm sessions will increase. For instance, a child may feel bad cleaning his room or doing some chores while other children are playing outside.
Similarly, a child may feel awful when you make them handle chores or their homework without minimal breaks in between. For this, giving them a break for as little as 15 minutes will make all the difference.
3. Control Your Emotions
As we discuss the question, ‘what causes anger in a child?’ do you know you can also become a victim of your own emotions?
When your child is angry, it is likely they’ll trigger your emotions as well.
Now, how will you handle your child’s anger outbursts if you are losing control?
If you grew up in a home where your parents always shouted at you, it is likely you may result to doing the same to your kids. However, this shouldn’t be the case.
Whenever you experience intense emotions, sit back, take a deep breath, and remain quiet. Think of your child like your neighbor’s child that you can’t spank every time he does wrong. And with all these precautions, you’re less likely to burst out in anger.
4. Avoid Escalating the Situation
Always ensure that your response does not escalate your child’s anger. Saying, ‘this is disrespectful or you are grounded isn’t in the moment of an emotional tsunami.
The best solution is to hold back and when your child is finally calm, hold them responsible for their action.
5. Discuss the Incident Later
When you and your child are finally calm, it is time to discuss the incident. Your child is likely to show genuine remorse for losing their temper.
I remember once my 10-year-old girl lost her cool and started screaming, cursing, and throwing things around. Later when she calmed down, she was so remorseful and couldn’t understand how she could behave in that manner.
In such situations, showing your child how to handle their angry moments will help in preventing such ugly occurrences in the future.
There you have it. A comprehensive answer to the question, ‘what causes anger issues in a child?’ do you know other reasons why anger and aggression in 4 year old boy or girl occur?
Please share with us in the comments section. Happy parenting!