Child Psychology : How to Help a Child Who Is Always Angry

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hello my name is dr. Craig Childress I'm

a clinical psychologist in Pasadena

California I specialize in treating

children with attention deficit

hyperactivity spectrum disorders angry

oppositional kids parenting problems and

family relationship problems today I'm

going to talk with you about how to help

a child who's always angry one of the

issues about an angry child that I've

sort of experienced in my clinical

practice is that angry has to do with

love that's gotten all twisted and

knotted up that anger actually is

continues to be a connection it's just a

connection that expresses pain rather

than a connection that expresses

nurturance and so what we want to do for

a child who's always angry is not

necessarily respond to the anger but see

if we can find and respond to the

child's pain and the child's need to

love and be loved

frequently what's helpful in responding

to anger is an intent to understand when

we approach with an intent to understand

this tends to de-escalate anger so an

intent to understand is basically a

simple caring and concern for the

child's experience from the child's

perspective now there is a false intent

to understand where we asked a child why

did you do that and the child gives us a

reason and then we invalidate it with a

solution or recommendation or tell them

why they shouldn't be feeling the way

they're feeling that's a false intent to

understand a true intent to understand

really is just simple a simple curiosity

about the child's experience from the

child's point of view and I typically

like to hit that three or four times so

if I have an angry frustrated child I

really want to understand what's going

on why you're angry and they give me a

response and they'll all help explore

that a little bit more so you're feeling

angry about this okay is it is it this

quality about this or that quality I'm

really caring about what the child's

experiences and what

we care about another person's

experience that tends to de-escalate the

angry the other feature that we want to

do is we want to bring the emotion into

communication and so rather than just

explosive expressive emotions whether

they're called catastrophic emotions we

want to bring it into the communication

system what are called emotional

signaling and the relationship is

defined as being able to influence the

other person so the child is able to

influence us and we're able to influence

the child and as long as we have that

mutual influence going back and forth we

have a relationship and then we bring

emotions in to communicate to help

provide the context for the situation

oftentimes what anger communicates in

that communication system is that things

are important to me this is really

important and so just recognizing

acknowledging the importance to the

child of whatever it is you're

struggling with and in this regard

Gandhi had an interesting comment when

he said the antidote is the opposite so

the antidote for anger would be love or

communication or laughter her joy angry

met with angry is not going to get you a

very good outcome if you'd like to learn

more about this or other parenting

issues you can go to my website

thank you very much