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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Ripley-Evans

The Angry Child

Updated: May 19, 2020

Anger has a place

Anger is an emotion that we all experience to some degree, probably on a daily basis. It is normal and natural to experience this emotion, however, how we act it out and respond to it can look very different from person to person. Some people may seem like they never get angry, while others seem constantly angry. Finding the right balance between acknowledging our emotions and expressing our emotions can be quite a tricky process that can sometimes leave us a little red in the face.

The biology of anger

It is well documented that anger and aggression have some roots in our genetic make up. Bearing this i

n mind, we may be able to look back at our families over the generations and notice certain trends that may relate to anger, aggression, short tempers and low self control. If you notice any of this in your past, it is likely that there may be genetic predispositions within your family towards higher levels of anger and aggression. Now, it is important to understand that just because one may have a genetic predisposition towards something, there is no guarantee that they will ‘become’ or display those tendencies. For example, just because there may be some familial indication of a predisposition towards anger or aggression, this does not mean that your child will be an angry or aggressive child. At the end of the day, our environments and life experiences will ultimately determine whether we ‘become’ that or not. If a child who may have a tendency towards being short tempered and aggressive learns good self awareness and self regulation techniques as well as appropriate ways to display their emotions, they may never be seen as angry or aggressive. Our environments ultimately shape us.

Family Environment

The family environment is probably the most important context in which a child exists. It is the context in which a child begins to develop relationships, coping skills and problem-solving abilities. It is the context that provides safety and security, love, care and affection. The extend to which a child receives all of this will vary drastically from individual to individual, however, this remains a fundamental factor in our development. As we consider the significance of this environment, we need to bear in mind the following element which contribute to the family context: ​

  • Parental dynamics

  • Sibling dynamics

  • Boundaries & Discipline structures

  • Power Dynamic

  • Conflict Management

  • Communication.

Child’s Context

Within the whole exists the various parts, one of which is your child. Irrespective of what challenges you may be facing with your child, you need to put them into context before anything else. For this, one needs to seriously consider the following are significant and dynamic factors that impact a child’s

development, relationships and communication:

  • Age - take into context where your child is developmentally as this impacts what they can or cant do, how they view the world and how they think or feel about things.

  • Gender - this has developmental consequences which may impact your child, as well as social-developmental considerations such as how we socialise boys vs girls for example.

  • Birth Order - there is much research which indicates the significance order of birth and various personality traits or characteristics. Consider this seriously within the context of your family.

  • Personal Experience - what has your child actually experienced on a day or over time which may have contributed to a specific mood or outburst.

Parent’s Context

Very similar to above, we need to consider our own context as a parent and where we have come from. We need to bear in mind:

  • Developmental phase - Our own developmental period will impact how we engage with the world significantly.

  • Age and Gender - these will significantly impact how we have engaged with the world and as such how we have learned to be.