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We have all been there: we are having a good day, things are going seemingly smooth, and then your child suddenly and abruptly lashes out in anger. At the moment, it can be hard to determine the best course of action, but if you are prepared, things can go much more smoothly.

Soothing an angry child is a fine art. It can be extremely tough for both parent and child when your child consistently struggles with their anger. However, remember, their brain is still developing. In many cases, they are lashing out because they haven’t fully learned how to manage their emotions. Here are some simple ways to help calm them down when they are upset.

Have a Calm Down Plan

Before your child erupts in anger, have a plan in place. Try different methods to calm down like breathing exercises, taking a walk, or even having a special place in the house they can go to calm down. Some even create calm-down kits for their kids that contain crayons, special toys, or a calming lotion or spray. Figure out what works for you, and prepare ahead of time.

Have a Plan B

Parenting expert Dr. Ross Greene describes authoritarian-style parents as ineffective. He refers to it as ‘Plan A’ parenting and encourages parents to use ‘Plan B’ parenting instead. In this model, parents are encouraged to work with their kids to problem-solve future obstacles. For example, if your child is struggling to pick a food item on the menu and is getting upset, ask them why it made them upset. They may respond, “Because you told me they had pizza and they don’t.” In turn, you could suggest looking at the menu online ahead of time so that you can pick something before going.

Avoid Violent Media

If your child gets aggressive, it’s best to steer clear of violent television, video games, or YouTube videos. Instead, push them towards media that is more positively geared.

Focus on Emotional Coaching Regularly

Emotion coaching should be a regular part of your parenting routine. What I mean by this, is that as your child begins to express their emotions in unhealthy ways, we are supposed to help them learn healthy ways instead.

Follow Through With Consequences

When you have brought attention to the problem (the anger outburst) and offered a solution, yet they continue to act out-you need to lay out the consequences if they continue. Then, if that still doesn’t work-you need to follow through. Otherwise, they are going to learn that it’s acceptable to act out.

Do NOT Give In To Tantrums

No matter how much you may believe that giving in will solve the problem, it will not. Instead, they will learn that by throwing tantrums, they can get what they want. When you reward bad behavior, you get more bad behavior.