For children with autism, it’s easy to get trapped in complex emotions. Many children on the autism spectrum have trouble understanding and expressing their feelings. This can lead to outbursts of anger, rage, and frustration. Some children become hyper-focused on these negative emotions and may have difficulty processing and controlling their anger. At the same time, communication issues like difficulty reading facial expressions lead to more frustration. Parents also have the challenging job of understanding and mitigating their child’s anger. But it’s important to deal with these anger outbursts constructively. Here are some tips on how to teach your child to manage their anger.
Understand Where Their Anger is Coming From
To manage your child’s anger, you first need to try and understand its origin. This can be incredibly challenging if they have difficulty communicating their feelings. Ask your child what’s wrong and listen to what they tell you. Teach them to manage anger through communication. Are they upset because they can’t find their favorite toy? Or is it something more serious? A communication device is one of the most useful tools when your child is frustrated or angry but cannot express their emotions. You can create a visual board to represent emotions, triggers, and consequences to help your child understand their emotions.
Let Your Child Safely Express Their Anger
When anger is unavoidable, you should let your child safely release their emotions somewhere they won’t hurt themselves or anyone else. You offer something soft like a pillow to scream into or use as a punching bag to redirect their anger. Eventually, they will become tired and begin to calm down. Another way to let your child vent their anger is to encourage them to write their feelings down or talk about what is upsetting them.
They could also try expressing their emotions through art, such as drawing pictures. By teaching your child ways to express themself, you are teaching them how to manage anger more constructively.
Practice Techniques When Your Child is Relaxed
Teaching your child anger management techniques requires structure. No one knows your child better than you, so you need to create structure in their life. This will help them feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. For example, some children need alone time to recharge, while others benefit from visual stimuli or relaxing activities.
Practicing anger management is an important coping mechanism. It is most effective when you work on these techniques when your child is calm and relaxed. Some children love to move their bodies to release stress. Research shows yoga helps improve negative behavior, including anger. Since yoga often plays to the strengths of children with autism while reducing stress, it encourages them to be calm, focused, and more willing to learn.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.