|Is Your Child Using Anger to Control You?|
Have your child’s angry outbursts worn you down so much that you’ve simply learned to give in? You should know that this is not a phase or a behavior; that will “just go away on its own.” Read on to discover 5 things you can do to stop your child from using “Anger with an Angle” today.
Anger is a fact of life. Everyone gets angry, including kids—they get frustrated and disappointed just like adults do. The goal for children as they mature is to learn ways to manage their anger or, as I like to say, “Solve the problem of anger.” That’s because anger is a problem—it’s not just a feeling. And like many other problems, kids solve it in different ways. Some learn to solve the problem of anger by developing skills like communication and compromise, while other kids deal with it by becoming more defiant and engaging in power struggles.
You will soon see your child’s behavior escalate until you give in. That’s when anger and acting out do become premeditated.
As children grow up, most learn to manage their anger. Each time they experience new situations, they begin to draw on the skills they learned previously. Most kids learn that temper tantrums don’t work—that yelling will not help their situation and that hurting someone or breaking something will cause them more trouble in the long run. But other kids go a whole different direction and practice a thing I call “Anger with an Angle.” They learn at a very early age that if they get angry and act out—or threaten to do so—the people around them will give in. In effect, they’ve learned how to blackmail their parents to give them what they want.
If you were an outsider observing a child who uses “Anger with an Angle” you’d see him look as if he’s losing control. But what’s really going on is that this child is getting more and more control over his parents. He looks like he’s losing control, when in fact, he’s gaining control. And that’s the dangerous thing. The fact is, a child’s behavior won’t change until he’s not able to get power from it anymore. And certainly for a kid, control is power. As long as he gets power from that behavior, he’s going to continue to act out.