If your “tween” or teenager is acting out in an angry, aggressive manner, consider these seven tips for coping:
- Catch Your Child Being “Good.” No child always acts “bad.” When you see your child behaving in an appropriate manner, praise these positive behaviors. Also, provide additional opportunities to behave appropriately.
- Address Inappropriate Behavior Immediately. While it may be okay to ignore minor inappropriate behavior, it is never okay to ignore aggressive behavior. Address it immediately.
- Remain Calm. Children of all ages learn through mirroring. Lead by example and remain calm, positive and in control of your own emotions. Show your child there is an appropriate way to behave and still express strong emotions.
- Do Not Engage in a Power Struggle. You are the parent and you are in control. Do not attempt to negotiate or rationalize with a child who is acting out in an angry and aggressive manner. Set expectations from the outset and name the consequences of unmet expectations. Do not attempt to explain “why” when the child is in the middle of acting out. Be firm, calm and direct.
- Use Commands, Not Questions. Do not say “Would you like to help me?” Instead say, “I need you to do X now.” or “Please do X now.” Be clear, concise, direct and positive in your communication.
- Set Rules and Consequences. Be clear about the rules of the house, your expectations, and consequences. If a child violates a house rule, do not warn, simply and immediately enforce the prior stated consequence.
- Demonstrate Problem Solving. Allow your child to see how you problem solve by first, identifying a problem, evaluating multiple potential responses, and then the decision-making process of selecting the best response.
For more information on how to cope with and help your angry, aggressive child, we invite you to participate in our self-directed programs. These programs can be accessed at your convenience, directly from your computer, in the comfort of your own home.