Every adult gets angry at one time or another. Children are no different, and in fact, anger starts at birth or soon after (Marion, 2011). Young children often have anger over the passion of items, physical or verbal lashing out, rejection from others, and issues of compliance (Marion, 2011). Children want to be independent and one reason they become upset, and often have a meltdown, is because they are not allowed to be independent in a safe environment.
Expressing and Regulating Emotions
“Children can gradually learn how to communicate feelings in social situations if we teach them how.” (Marion, 2011, p.195). Just like your children are learning to walk, use scissors, and become potty trained, they are also learning to regulate their emotions and learn how to express them appropriately. Children are not able to regulate their emotions like adults because it “requires some high-level understanding skills, something that humans develop very slowly.” (Marion, 2011, p.197). Children are not able to organize their feelings nor are they able to see the other child’s point of view, which makes regulating their emotions harder. Children are also at a point in their development where they are unable to manage their own moods and feelings very well, but that skill will come as they grow.
Strategies to Help Children with Emotions
Young children do not understand their feelings, but we can help them do that so they can reflect on those emotions. For children to understand and express their feelings they must develop their brain, their memory and their language (Marion, 2011). Once they start to understand and are able to express their feelings, they will be able to learn how to control them. A warm and loving relationship with your child will help with his brain development. Young children have a hard time processing knowledge they need to remember, so as adults we need to remind them of what we expect from them. By helping children have a good language foundation they will have an easier time to express their emotions. “Talking about emotions helps young children understand their feelings and helps them begin to evaluate them.” (Marion, 2011, p. 202).
If you have any questions, please call or email me. Thank you.
Marion, M. (2011). Guidance of Young Children (8th ed.). Upper Saddler, New Jersey: Pearson