25 Ways To Teach Children How To Control Their Anger


One of my favorite resources is a publication by Lawrence Shapiro, Ph.D. that is now out of print. It is called 25 Ways To Teach Children How To Control Their Anger. I continue to refer to it today in the work that I do with children, adolescents and families.

A Graduate Intern and I made a poster series identifying each strategy and matched it with a handout for parents to help reinforce the lesson. We continue to use this poster series to support parents in identifying resources and clarifying areas of weakness where we can support them.

  1. Make lifestyle changes that will lower a child’s anger threshold.  (Google: lifestyle charts for children)
  2. Teach Assertive Discipline Techniques. (Resources at www.parentcoachplan.com and www.behavior-contracts.com)
  3.  Recognize the Effects of Stress. (Google stress scale for children, adolescents, adults)
  4. Teach Children the “Habit” of Systematic Relaxation. (Google progressive relaxation techniques)
  5. Teach Resiliency Skills. (Google teaching resilience  through games)
  6. Teach Children to Talk About Anger and Other Feelings. (Google Feelings Scavenger Hunt)
  7. Teach Communication Skills. (Teach children and adults to use “I statements”)
  8. Teach Conflict Resolution. (http://www.pbs.org/teachers/thismonth/conflict/index1.html)
  9. Be Careful Not To Reward Misbehavior. (http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/?pageId=444)
  10. Teach the Skill of Fair Fighting. (http://www.ehow.com/list_6040136_games-kids-teach-fair-fighting.html)
  11. Teach Interpersonal Problem Solving. (Solutions Tic Tac Toe – When a conflict arises, the two people sit down and play a game of Tic Tac Toe, with the additional rule being that when a X and or O is written down, the players must come up with a new and reasonable solution to the problem at hand. After the different solutions are given, the player simply decides which one is the best. If no solution can be agreed upon, the play begins again.)
  12. Find a Mentor or a Positive Role Model for a Child with Anger Control Problems.
  13. Teach Positive (Optimistic) Thinking. (http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/positive-thinking/)
  14. Teach Kindness (http://www.homelifesimplified.com.au/30-ways-to-teach-children-about-gratitude-and-kindness/)
  15. Teach Awareness of Non-Verbal Behavior. (http://www.senteacher.org)
  16. Teach Awareness of Voice, Tone and Inflection. (http://www.socialskillscentral.com/free/101_Ways_Teach_Children_Social_Skills.pdf)
  17. Teach Children to be Aware of Their Own Mood States. (http://www.do2learn.com/activities/SocialSkills/Stress/StressTriggers.html)
  18. Teach Cooperative Games.
  19. Teach Behavioral Responsibility to Difficult Children through Overcorrection. (
  20. Teach Assertiveness Skills (http://chipts.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/01/ACT1.pdf)
  21. Reinforce Values (http://form.sofia.edu/resources/crc/pdf/values.pdf)
  22. Teach Social Skills
  23. Teach Children to Anticipate Problems. (http://voices.yahoo.com/activities-help-children-learn-coping-skills-6962302.html)
  24. Teach Children to Anticipate a Conflict-Free Future. (Ask a child to imagine that they are in a time machine and can see into the future. They are then asked to visit a time in the future, when the problems they are having no longer exist. They should describe what it is like then, how they are different, and how the people around them are different. . .)
  25. Help Children Develop an Anger Control Kit. (This has also become an evolving project!)

So, I thought it would be fun to share my Anger Control Kit. I will identify the different items in “The Anger Bag/Box”. This will allow you to experiment with strategies and find out which ones work best for you, as a professional or parent.

After teaching the strategies, or exploring the topics, I identify a symbol, that will help the child remember the strategy. The symbols are placed in a small bag, or box to be easily carried in a backpack. The bag/box would be used to help trigger coping strategies when struggling with anger throughout their day.

Stay tuned as I share some of my ideas on how to build a Anger Control Kit . . .
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