Anger is a natural human emotion, and the issue of handling it is one that all children and their parents must face eventually. In their early teen years, boys may struggle with the hormonal changes that their bodies are undergoing. At this point in their lives, their hormones will have a profound effect on the part of the brain that governs emotions. Adolescence is often the point at which the problem of a bad temper emerges in boys.
Parents should be prepared for this and be ready to deal with a male child’s outbursts and bad behavior. If you’ve got a boy dealing with a bad temper, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Take Him Out of the Situation
If he’s angry with someone, separate him from that person. If he’s brawling with a sibling, send them to separate rooms. Immediate separation from the person or thing that has caused him to lose his temper can often be the fastest way to defuse a temper tantrum.
- Avoid Becoming Angry Yourself
This is not always easy, as in many cases anger is the first instinctive reaction a parent may have to something a son has said or done. However, remaining calm, even in the face of the boy’s anger, can often help them to calm down. On the other hand, yelling or other aggressive displays can escalate the situation. If you feel yourself getting angry, wait out your anger until the child calms down. Among other things, staying calm will help you be a good role model and can serve as an example for your son (or, for nannies, for the boy in your care) of how to handle emotions. Even though it may not feel like it, correctly handling a high-tension situation can help a boy manage his temper better in the future.
- Use Humor to Defuse Anger
Humor can sometimes be used to defuse an angry situation. You should be careful how you use it, though. Avoid making light of what has made your son angry or of the fact that he’s angry in the first place. Ridiculing him will just make the situation worse. The best way to use humor is help him see the situation in a new light and to make him laugh about it and gain some perspective. Doing this can help him save face and resolve the situation without any lingering resentment.
- Establish and Enforce Structure
It is important that a child knows who is in charge. By setting down firm rules, the parent makes the child aware that there are boundaries that he cannot cross, even when he’s angry. Be ready to follow up with the consequences should your son violate the rules; this will let him know you’re serious and can help him to make better decisions the next time he’s angry. The consequences of rule-breaking should be appropriate and — vitally — not be meted out in anger. And of course, a parent should always forgive a child and make sure he knows that his outburst will not be held against him.
- Avoid the Temptation to Ignore Outbursts
In many cases, a boy’s temper will simply get worse until the parent is forced to address it. By ignoring smaller outbursts, you’re unwittingly training your son to make bigger and bigger ones until he gets your attention, which is the reaction he’s after. Address all temper flare-ups as they happen.
- Help Your Son Understand His Anger
Different children will have different triggers for their anger. It’s important to help your child find those triggers so he can prevent or control future outbursts. For instance, help him reflect on previous instances where he’s lost his temper. Talk about what happened, what it meant and how it was resolved. By showing your son that he has a choice in how he reacts to situations, you can show him that he always has the opportunity to remain calm and not be controlled by his anger.
- Help Him Find Outlets For His Anger
Physical outlets, like playing sports or even just going for a walk, can often help to relieve anger in boys. In some cases, it may be helpful for him to put his feelings down on paper or find a creative activity to let him release frustration.
An understanding of the appropriate methods of handling anger is one of the most important lessons parents can provide to their boys. Success may take years of practice, but it will help them throughout their teens and on into their adult lives, and in their relationships with their own children.
This post was written by the team at Become A Nanny
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases.