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Parenting Tip of the Week: Anger Management Skills for Your Child

Question:  What role do parents play in helping children deal with their anger?

Answer: There are three components of anger; the first component of anger is the emotion itself. The second is the expression of anger and how people choose to show that they are angry, and the third is the understanding of anger. Because the ability to regulate the expression of anger is linked to an understanding of emotion and because children’s ability to reflect on their anger is somewhat limited, children need guidance from parents in understanding and managing their feelings of anger.

Question: What role does a child’s age play in managing their anger?

Answer: As a child gets older, their memory improves, therefore they will better be able to remember aspects of anger arousing interactions, they will begin to remember what makes them angry and what doesn’t. As a child’s language develops so does their ability to talk about their emotions which in turn helps them understand their angry feelings. Also as a child gets older their ability to self regulate themselves gets stronger. The older a child gets, the more they are able to control impulses, tolerate frustration and postpone immediate gratification instead of simply just yelling or hitting.

Question: How do parents influence how a child deals with anger?

Answer:  As we’ve all probably heard, children live what they see. Parents can help model positive anger management and then their child will have a good example to follow. Parents can also monitor their children’s TV and movie viewing, creating an “off limits” list of inappropriate movies or TV shows. Parents can also have discussions with their children after viewing a questionable program or movie and how characters in those shows appropriately or inappropriately handled their anger. For those parents that are challenged with anger, the following techniques will work for themselves as well as their child.

Question:  What are some anger management techniques that parents can help model?

Answer: Parents want to help their children focus on something other than their angry feelings and make positive choices. Some techniques that are helpful are pause and inhale, wait a moment and then blow the breath out slowly. Another technique is to slowly count backwards from 10, or 20 if you’re really mad. Self talk is a good technique too, this is where the child or adult thinks about what has happened and self talk gives the time to make choices. An example of self talk would be telling yourself out loud, it’s ok, there is no need to get upset, I can handle this, etc.

Question: What are some signs that a child might have a more severe anger problem and what should parents do about that?

Answer:  It is difficult for parents to know when they need to seek professional help for their child or teen with regard to anger. Some indicators of a more serious anger problem are frequent problems with anger that disrupt learning at school, a disregard for rules or authority, cruelty to pets or other animals, constant discussions about violence or weapons, a fixation with violent games or movies, or artwork with violent themes.

Since 1982, Family Support Network has been the catalyst for strengthening families through cost-free in-home, in-school, and shelter-based counseling in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and Jefferson County. In 2002, FSN served 2,700 individuals and 980 families.

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Typically, the clients served by FSN fall into two different groups. The first group includes parents that are at serious risk of maltreating their children. These high-risk characteristics are identified by FSN therapists following the initial referral or their first home visit with the family. Some of these characteristics may include a history of maltreatment or neglect, severe poverty, and/or severe challenges with the child’s behavior in school. FSN’s goal is to go into the home, identify and help solve parenting problems and strengthen the family as a whole, teaching the parent effective parenting skills while working with the child on behavior and coping techniques so that parents and children will become happier and healthier.

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The second group of parents or caregivers would never neglect or maltreat their children but are feeling stressed out, frustrated, and overwhelmed because of a variety of issues. The child may have a disability or behavior problem and the parent is not sure how to deal with the child. Perhaps the parent is mentally retarded and is not taking care of the child’s needs simply because they were never educated on how to care for a child. Maybe the child has a disability and the parent is unsure how to handle it. The mission of the FSN therapist is to look at the entire family and address the families’ concerns, teach the parents effective parenting skills, and assist children with their challenges so that everyone involved will become stronger individually making an even stronger family unit.
Families voluntarily participate in FSN’s programs for a period of 6 to 12 months

Family Support Network has Tax Credits For You!!!

Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) Tax Credits from the Mo. Dept. of Economic Dev.

What is it? NAP is a tax credit that you can claim on your Mo. State Income Tax. It is based on your contribution to Family Support Network and can equal up to 50 percent of the value of your contribution. When combined with your federal deduction for charitable donations, a NAP Tax Credit can greatly reduce the cost of making a contribution! Tax credits are good for 6 years, the year you make the donation and a 5 year carry forward.


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