Anger Issues in a 4 year old

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    My daughter throws things and hits others, even shouts at them, when they refuse to share, follow her instructions or fail to understand what she is trying to say. When I ask her why she behaves so, she calmly tells me that its because the other child has misbehaved and she is being strict with them. I have tried very strict discipline methods like hitting, timeouts in closed room etc. On the other hand I have also tried disciplining in a loving manner with zero hitting and lot of talking & explaining etc……Nothing has worked!!

    Why does a 4 year old have so much of anger & frustration within her? How do I stop this kind of behaviour? Please help πŸ™

    Kshiti Siraslewala

    Dear Liz,

    First of all I would like to congratulate you for doing the best that you know as a parent. I understand this situation sounds quite bothersome for you. And the good news is that your child has the ability to reason for her behavior. Usually the child only knows what he/she observes and experiences from the environment.

    Suggestions: First step is show acknowledgement by asking questions like what makes you feel angry? When you ask why you behave like that it means you are saying you must not get angry and that clearly doesn’t work. We cannot deny emotions.

    With all the due respect the discipline methods won’t work because we are sending her a clear message that this behavior is not acceptable.
    Instead use democratic parenting where you both collaboratively decide on certain rules for her behavior and there will be accountability for the same. You will also have to follow the same rules because you are in partnership with her while making these rules. It will be a good idea to show her that rules apply to everyone equally.
    Also make sure you reward her with some positive comment or something when she shows love, care and share.
    Respect her feelings when she sometimes wishes not to share her things because once in a while it’s ok to let it be. As long as she gets the concept of sharing because thats the idea.
    By age 4, child has developed empathy so you can converse with her that momma is feeling sad and worried when you feel bothered by other kids. Offer her help by saying how can I help you?
    Don’t make these conversations when she is angry. It’s futile.
    Make believe a situation where you can tell her your story that how you got angry and frustrated with your friends. Ask her for her advises and tips. Tell her that you are very upset and you need her help. Also tell her that you had to face consequences like you were left alone when you continued getting angry with your friends. Anger didn’t help you much. (Use this method when she is in a mood to be a listener, not when she is angry)

    Use stories and puppets where consequences of anger are attached and how differently we can behave. (This method needs to be used many times to reinforce) Use her favorite cartoon characters in the story.
    Also find out if anger is paying off in anyway. For example: Does she get her things done when she gets angry?
    You won’t get results overnight but these mentioned methods are proven and with everyday practice, it brings behavior modification in children. You can read more about democratic parenting style if you wish.
    Last but not the least you can use your discretion, your instinct as a parent because you are the best judge.
    Hope this helps.

    All the Best πŸ™‚
    Happy Parenting !!

    Early Childhood Educator & R.E.B.T. Practitioner

    R.E.B.T. Practitioner

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