Children with ADHD have a lot of trouble expressing their emotions, which means angry outbursts are a common occurrence for them. When it comes to managing these outbursts, it helps to have an understanding of your child’s triggers.
While kids do naturally experience tantrums and have outbursts, if your child has ADHD, there’s a good chance the two are related. The problem with an ADHD child’s outbursts is that the effects can last long after the episode has occurred, causing them additional, long-term stress.
Reasons why children with ADHD experience anger
Below are just a few of the reasons why your child might be having angry episodes:
- A lack of empathy. Children who don’t have ADHD will generally think about how their actions will affect others before they act, which helps keep any emotions such as anger in check, however, children that do suffer from ADHD aren’t able to practice empathy as easily. This is not to say that they don’t recognize that their behavior is not acceptable, they just aren’t able to stay calm and stop their actions as easily.
- Parents aren’t always aware of what happens during their child’s day at school. Your child might’ve been scolded for speaking in class or they struggled to understand something the teacher was explaining, which leads to feelings of frustration. They may even have been bullied that day. Once they get home you may scold them for not picking up their clothes or tidying their room and all of this stress can lead to an angry outburst.
- Medication problems. While most ADHD medication is great for helping kids feel less irritable, some medication can make kids more irritable. If you suspect that this may be the case, it’s best to find a natural alternative or speak to your doctor about changing the medication that your child is currently using.
- Impulsive behavior is very common in children with ADHD, which means that angry outbursts can be a lot more common when they say or do something without thinking and get into trouble because of it.
- Learning issues. Learning difficulties are very common for children with ADHD and can lead to a lot of anger and frustration when it goes unrecognized. Make sure that you’re communicating with your child’s teacher on a regular basis to pick up on any learning difficulties sooner rather than later.
- Kids with ADHD are generally emotional and anxious most of the time so it’s not that difficult for them to get angry when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Depression and ODD have been linked to ADHD and could be contributing to your child’s outbursts.
Tips for dealing with anger in your ADHD child
If you’re looking for ways to reduce and handle your child’s anger, here are some tips:
- Understand the triggers. When do your child’s outbursts take place? Every time they have an episode, take note of what they were doing before it happened, the time of day and any other factors that may have played a role. By understanding your child’s triggers, you can better anticipate or even prevent an outburst before it happens.
- Speak to your child about what’s happening. When your child is showing signs of anger, gently tell them that they’re being aggressive or raising their voice in order to bring their attention to their behavior.
- Practice empathy. By showing that you empathize with and understand what your child is going through, you can help them feel calmer and make the episode far less severe.
- Step away. Engaging with your child when they’re angry can make the situation worse. Sometimes the best course of action is to remove yourself from the situation in order to prevent it from getting out of control. Suggest going into separate rooms until things are calmer.
- Discuss what happened. When your child is angry it can be difficult to be rational with them but it’s also important to speak to them about the episode afterward so that you can discuss the reasons why it might’ve happened and how you can prevent feelings like this going forward.
By working with your child to better understand their emotions you will help boost their self-esteem and make things more peaceful at home at the same time.
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