As adults, we know how to express how we feel. Whether we are expressing sentiments of anger, sadness, or happiness, we know how and when to act. Anger is a normal emotion and should be expressed, without violence or hurtful outbursts. Children don’t always know how to do this.

Studies have shown that young children who do not know how to sustain their emotions often end up growing up into uncontrollable adults. “Toddlers and young children need to learn how to control their emotions. Otherwise, frequent aggression over time can cause problems in school, at home and with their friends and family. One study found that one in seven children who had aggression early in life that increased as they aged, were at a higher risk of: school failure, adult unemployment, physical violence and mental illness,” according to Aboutkidshealth.com.

Teaching anger management skills is an important part of parenting. Children often test their limits when it comes to their parents. If there is no resolution after a tantrum, children may start to have more outbursts and lash out at their parents or friends at school when they don’t get their way. It is imperative to spot your child’s triggers. What sets your child off? How do you both deal with the problem at hand? Does your child mirror your behaviour?

Communication is key in the home. Most young children lash out because they cannot express themselves properly. Anger management will help your child learn how to deal with their anger, as they would learn how to deal with any emotion. Talking about your feelings and discussing solutions to the problem will help. When your child is angry, the best thing is to do is take a time out. Let them go sit somewhere else until their emotions cool down. Most of the time, your child doesn’t understand why they are angry. By talking about their feelings, they will be able to learn more.

Perhaps, they don’t like to share their toys, or perhaps they want to buy something at the store and the parent says no. Remove them from the situation. As the parent, you need to take control and ask the child to take a few deep breaths. Say something like, “I feel angry when...” This reassures the child that they can come and talk about their feelings and there is a solution to everything.

Educators are also doing what they can to help. Chances are your kindergartner is participating in the “The Fluppy Prevention Program,” which has been used in Quebec kindergartens for 20 years. It was designed for young children who are at risk of behavioural problems. The aim of the program is to prevent violence and school dropout in the later years. Through the universal component of this program, children learn to understand and manage their emotions, and develop skills for peaceful problem solving and self-control. Teachers use Fluppy puppets and his 11 friends to teach cognitive, emotional and behavioural aspects of social competence.

Should your child not react well to anger management tools, you can always discuss more options with your child’s teacher, physician or seek out a child psychologist.