Be open with him about the subject. Tell him that as he’s now “a big boy”, he should learn to stop behaving like a younger child. Explain that he upsets you when he loses his temper, and that you expect him to try harder to control it in the future. Let him know that while it is all right to experience anger, it is incorrect to express it too forcefully.Related: 5 ways to discipline your child without screamingClick on arrows for more.
Teach him how to control his anger
Give him some practical suggestions on controlling his temper by himself. These should be strategies that he can use whenever he feels his blood starting to boil. For instance, he can simply tell you that he is beginning to feel angry, he can walk away from the situation, or he can watch his favourite video tape to calm himself down. Make a list of all these possibilities – be sure to ask for his suggestions – then decide with him which methods he should use whenever he starts to fly into a rage. Encourage your child to practise these as part of a role-play with you, so that he will be prepared in a real-life situation.In addition, suggest that he voice his anger instead of acting on it. Explain that it is better for him to say “Mum, I’m getting angry because I can’t finish this jigsaw”, than it is for him to say nothing and then to throw the jigsaw on the floor in a fit of temper. While he may not be agreeable at first, continue to encourage him in expressing his anger verbally anyway; it will bear fruit in time.Related: 5 ways to stop sibling rivalry
It takes time
Of course, these techniques may not work initially, no matter how often you and he practise them. Don’t worry – he will improve with time and experience. If you see him about to express his anger in the form of a tantrum despite your previous warnings, remind him of the “cooling-off” strategies that you suggested to him. It may motivate your child to apply these techniques to actual incidents. Advise him of what he can do to keep his anger in control.Show how pleased you are with him when he effectively brings a potential outburst of anger under control. He’ll be as delighted as you. Point out that you're sure that he can do the same the next time he feels his anger stirring. And every few days, check how he's getting on. Ask him about the times that he almost lost his temper, yet eventually managed to stop himself from exploding with rage.Related: 5 signs that your child is a bully
Aside from controlling his temper, he can develop completely new – but acceptable – ways of expressing his fury. For instance, he can make use of creative activities to redirect his anger.Invest in some modelling-clay for this purpose. Whenever he feels tense and irritable, he can pound the large lump of clay into any shape that he wants. Many children have learnt to express their rage by hitting, punching and kneading clay – that’s much better than showing their frustration at people.Suggest this strategy to your child so that he knows you approve, and direct him towards this activity when you see him getting riled. He can also try other creative activities such as painting and drawing to help deflect any fits of rage.Related: Good grades vs good character: a mother's dilemma(Photos: 123RF.com)