Helping Children VIEW Their Anger

"Helping Children VIEW Their Anger"
by Ron Huxley
Chronically angry children often have trouble gaining insight into their aggression. This can be due to immaturity or stubborn defensiveness. One way for parents and teachers to help angry children understand and cope with their anger is to use the acronym V.I.E.W.

V stands for “validate.” Whatever the reasons for a child’s anger, validate the right to feel what they feel without condoning any inappropriate behavior. Anger is a natural emotion. A child who must squash angry feelings will only find them to rise up even stronger next time.

I stands for “investigate.” Anger is rarely a solitary emotion. Sadness, grief, hurt, or fear are often silent lurkers behind anger. Ineffective efforts to quench anger may be due to the fact that other emotions are fueling its fire. Ask questions about what led up to the child’s anger and investigate anger’s accomplices. Label them for what they are without judgement.

E stands for “expression.” If anger is a natural emotion and other feelings can accompany it, then encourage a child to express all of their emotions clearly and without hurting self or others. Allow the child to voice their sadness. Let fear be released into conversation. Redirect children to negotiate instead of fighting. Model how this is done.

W stands for “working.” Chronic anger doesn't always go away quickly. Be patient and continue working the other steps in this acronym. Utilize various resources in the community to assist your child’s anger management. If one approach doesn’t work, try another one but keep working at it faithfully. And most importantly, practice what you preach!

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