From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Your Child About Anger

Recognizing the feeling and identifying the reasons for it can help minimize unwanted outbursts.

Jul 15, 2022



From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Your Child About Anger

Jul 15, 2022

Everyone gets angry. As with any emotion, like sadness, anger comes and goes — it is fleeting. In the moment, however, anger can have harmful consequences, both internally and externally. Recognizing angry feelings and identifying their source is useful for managing intense emotions — and limiting unwanted actions.

Your child may know an angry person in their lives — a relative or fellow student prone to outbursts, for example — or they themselves may experience episodes of anger and frustration. Of course, if you are concerned that your child’s exposure to anger is a threat or health risk, consult a professional to remove or minimize the impact of these factors on your child’s daily life. But if you sense your child’s experience with anger is more innocuous and just needs to be “named,” there are resources that can let your child know they are not alone.

For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with experts to identify a set of tips, articles, and books that make starting a conversation with your child about anger easier. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf, created for Instagram to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today.

When you’re ready to talk to your child about anger and where it comes from, look to these resources — many of them relatable fiction stories — for gentle guidance.

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Label Anger to Squash Its Momentum

It goes without saying that children, especially teens, experience mood swings. It’s part of growing up, literally. As children enter puberty, many of the outward, often erratic emotions they display are actually characterizations of internal changes happening beyond their control. 

In “A User’s Guide to Your Raging Brain” from Scholastic Choices magazine, readers learn that unprovoked feelings of insecurity, invincibility, aggression, and melancholy during preteen and teenage years can actually be the result of increased hormone levels in the body. 

Guest psychologists offer several tips for managing anger. Naming or “labeling” anger in the moment it is experienced helps reveal the emotion for what it is: “not the end-all, be-all.” After a few deep breaths, it will pass. Finding a healthy release like exercise is also an option for alleviating built-up tension. 

A negative perception or mindset can also trigger angry feelings. When this happens, experts recommend “reality testing,” or pausing and reflecting to examine a situation for what prompted the anger to rear its ugly head. Nine times out of 10, they say, a perceived slight is not intended (and so there’s no reason to explode over it). 

Read to Help Your Child Feel Understood

The joys and interactions of childhood aren’t without their moments of disappointment and, yes, anger. Fortunately, there are books for readers of all ages that feature relatable characters who beat the odds and their bad moods.

Tiger Has a Tantrum is perfect for read-aloud time with young children and beginner readers. Part of the Behavior Matters! series, this book uses humor to discuss emotions and reinforce good behavior for preschoolers.

For older readers, there's Furious Thing: In this novel, suitable for readers in middle school and above, Lex is so convinced that her anger is the root of all her problems, including a perceived loss of love from her family, that she vows never to lose her temper again. But suppressing her feelings doesn’t help. Without an outlet, Lex’s emotions only continue to build as the book reaches its climax. A story of manipulation and identity, Furious Thing is about tapping our strengths and claiming the space we need for ourselves to grow.

​​Be sure to visit the Scholastic Bookshelf for more resources on anger and other must-discuss topics.

Shop the fiction books in this article below for positive messages about handling anger. You can shop all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.

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