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Many of us were taught as children that we were not “allowed” to be angry, and that anger with parents or caretakers showed great disrespect and selfishness.

We sometimes mislabel them, of course, and assume annoyance is really outrage, but it is not.

Children respond with anger because they feel helpless.

In a way, their anger is a response to frustration as well.

A child who is especially defiant may be behaving this way to counteract dependency and fears of loss.

Explain that anger is OK (i.e., “I know how you feel; it makes me mad when other people borrow my things and don’t ask too”).

However, explain that aggression (hitting your brother) is not ok. A parent might say something like, “Here’s what I do when I get mad.” Don’t just tell your child what not to do; tell them what they should do too. Tell me about what happened, or tell him to give your toys back, or warn him you’ll tell me.” Some parents want to punish anger because they don’t like aggression.A parent might respond to a child who hits his brother by asking why he hit him.Go beyond the “he did this first” argument and ask where they learned to hit to tell other people to stop doing something.To understand why one child becomes more angry than other children takes some time and effort. The thing to realize is that our anger is generally a reaction to frustration.In children, however, anger appears to be a more generic emotion.A child who feels hurt by a loss may become angry as a way to avoid feeling sad and powerless.

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