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Child and Adolescent Counseling Blog for Lisa Klipfel, MFT
My Child is So Angry! What Do I Do?

Parents often feel so helpless when their children get so angry. As parents we want the best for them and we try to help them through the rough stuff in life. When a child is so angry it is scary in some way, then often turn to me. When I mean scary, it doesn't necessarily mean violent, but it could. It could be that they can just see their children feeling out of control and the parent is feeling unable to help them.

So, what is a parent to do? The first step is to realize that anger is an emotion. That may sound simple enough, but anger is often a secondary emotion. Let me explain.  In therapy, I talk with kids and families about the anger funnel. As humans, we experience a lot of feelings: happy, sad, disappointed, fear, jealousy, etc. With the anger funnel, all the emotion fall into the funnel, but the only emotion that comes out the bottom is anger. So, sadness turns to anger. Disappointment turns to anger. Fear turns to anger. This is what is meant by a secondary emotion. First it was one feeling, then it turned to anger. When a child and a parent can understand this concept, it helps both of them to reflect more when an anger episode occurs.

In addition to educating about anger, it's important to learn coping skills. There are a range of coping skills that we learn in our lives to calm us down when we are angry, sad, and anxious. Some of us have a big range of coping skills and some have a small range. Some people choose effective methods and some people use destructive methods. My goal is to help kids expand their range of constructive coping skills. Sometimes there are differences between what a child or teen thinks is appropriate and what parents think are appropriate. This is also my task to help the family come to an agreement and also to learn to respect each other's coping mechanisms.

If you feel that you need some peace in the house, call for a consultation today.

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