What a child’s anger might be telling you

By Amanda Morin

Most kids get angry sometimes. It’s a natural reaction when life feels hard or unfair. It’s also natural for the adults in charge to feel conflicted when it happens. They can feel irritated and want to help at the same time. 

Anger is often a sign that kids are struggling with or frustrated about things beyond their control. They don’t react this way on purpose. It happens because they don’t yet have the skills to identify and cope with strong emotions. 

Two common emotions that can lead to anger are anxiety and frustration. The key to helping is to find out what’s causing those feelings. Is it difficulty learning a task or skill? Or being slower than other kids to do things?

Understanding what’s behind the anger lets you respond in the best way possible. But it doesn’t always make it easier to cope with kids’ anger. Keep in mind that once they calm down, kids might feel ashamed of their behavior or like they’re “bad.” 

Anger problems can get better as kids learn to manage emotions and express what they’re feeling. And there are many ways to help kids who have frequent outbursts, both at home and at school.

Dive deeper

    Tell us what interests you

    Share

    About the author

    About the author

    Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days. 

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Roberto Olivardia, PhD is a clinical psychologist and lecturer in psychology at Harvard Medical School.