Use Your Words

Talking about one's feelings can help solve anger and frustration.
My six-year-old daughter has a problem controlling her anger and frustration. She's doing well in school, but when things don't go her way, she screams and slams doors. How can I help?
Help your daughter learn to use her words to express herself. Encourage her when she is angry or frustrated to talk with the person with whom she is upset or with someone nearby. Remind her when she is calm that that is the best way to handle frustration, and praise her when she is able to do it when she is upset.

Teach your daughter some simple relaxation methods. Counting to ten still works well, and taking deep, even breaths can help also. Check in a local bookstore or with your school counselor for books on teaching relaxation techniques to children.

It may help to keep in mind that your daughter must feel comfortable with her family to behave this way at home. She is controlling her anger and her behavior at school and only letting it out at home where she is with people who she knows love her.

If your daughter continues to have problems with this, you may want to talk with the school counselor. He may be able to give your daughter some individual time or include her in a small group on anger management. You may decide at some point that she needs additional help outside the school; if you do, the counselor or your pediatrician can refer you to a therapist in your community.

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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