Anxiety: Afraid or Angry?

When human beings think they’re in danger, they react with either ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. These reactions are hard-wired in us, but we all respond differently. A child’s behavior when he is anxious or worried may be in the ‘fight’ mode, with disruptive, oppositional, explosive, angry, or a melt-down – trying to overcome the source of the fear by force.
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Managing the angry child

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What can an adult do when a child is really angry?

  • Don’t retaliate (joining in the child’s anger will wind her up even more. It will also teach her poor ways of resolving conflict.)
  • Model the behaviour you want a child to learn. If you hit, she learns to hit. If you get out of control, she may learn to fear her own anger. Subsequently she will also learn to fear other people who hold power in her life-teachers, employers, partners.
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