This is the last blog titled: Children At Risk: Understanding and Responding to Children’s Behaviour, and they are targeted at child caregivers and others who work directly with children, especially in the developing world.
In previous blogs (parts one, two and three) we looked at the importance of child caregivers needing to connect a child’s past experiences with feelings and resulting behavior, establishing strong boundaries, encouraging positive behavior, building strong relationships and demonstrating encouragement and acceptance.
I am often asked for strategies on how to deal with children who show anger. It is a major problem for many children in institutions, who have difficult pasts, lack one/one attention, and with child caregivers lacking the skills and time to provide long term strategies. A child’s anger can be triggered by many feelings: failure, isolation, frustration, sadness and depression. Or they may feel that they lack control to make decisions, such as where they live, and so feel a lack of hope and a future. Their strong feelings cannot be denied. Caregivers need to be aware that these feelings are ‘real’, powerful and if not dealt with, may turn to aggression. Anger is usually short lived. Aggression is an attempt to destroy and to hurt others, and will cause major trauma to those living and caring for the child
Intervention Strategies for Anger
Caregivers Strategies Include
Care for yourself!
Have a strong and supportive outside network
Share your feelings with a colleague or supervisor
Remain calm and in control
Use sayings: ‘I am the adult’, ‘Time to relax’. ‘I am getting angry so I need to walk away’
Be aware of the many methods of discipline (in a future blog)
Be aware of situations where you know the child is going to become angry ( e.g. getting ready for school) and introduce strategies to lessen the tensionInform the child you accept the angry feelings, but not necessarily the way it is expressed
Teach children to express themselves, through language, play, art, games
Demonstrate appropriate adult modeling of anger
Ensure closeness and touching when the child is calm
Provide play opportunities to reduce energy (eg. active play) Tension can often be lessened by humour (not ridicule)
We have covered several aims in the four blogs, but it is important to mention that we should remain optimistic and have hope for the future! All children can learn and change!
If you have found the blogs on Understanding and Responding to Children’s Behaviour useful, you can purchase the 8 module National Training: Understanding and Responding to God’s Vulnerable Children training package.
You can also buy the modules separately on our website shop @ www.nationaltrainingforchildrenatrisk.com and register for our newsletter.