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How to Recognize if My Child’s Anger Issues are Normal or if it’s Something More |

How to Recognize if My Child’s Anger Issues are Normal or if it’s Something More

Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.

Anger is not unusual or unfamiliar for most parents. As children grow older, they explore their emotions and develop a sense of emotional intelligence as they cope with tough issues at school, at home and with friends. However, when anger issues become a reoccurring problem that lead to bad behavior, meltdowns, frustrations at home or harm to others, do we know the differences of when it is a normal emotional reaction and when it may be associated with a learning challenge? How do we know the difference and how can we recognize the signs and symptoms?

How to Recognize if My Child’s Anger Issues are Normal or if it’s Something More |

By knowing the differences in your child, parents can not only understand how to better handle anger issues at home, they can also learn to prevent meltdowns and anxiety from happening in the child’s environment. It’s also important to know the differences because what normal children can cope with on a daily basis, other children struggling with learning challenges like ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD), Autism, and Dyslexia, cannot cope as well with these issues. As parents, our approach should be much different when helping a child with learning challenges who also struggles with anger issues. For severe behavioral issues, parents should consider professional help from a behavioral psychologist or behavioral neurologist.

How to recognize the signs

Here are some helpful tips to determine whether your child is experiencing anger issues that are normal or if they are trying to cope with anger issues associated with a learning challenge. As a reminder, many of these recommendations may overlap or work for both types of children.


Normal Child

Anger: Learning Challenge

How can I tell the difference?
  • Emotional intelligence, including anger, typically begins to manifest itself between the ages of 2 to 6.
  • Tantrums and anger often subside over time with only occasional meltdowns.
  • Shows anger between 2 and 6 when language and speech are developing.
  • Tests limits and boundaries, but can listen and respond to authority figures when disciplined.
  • Needs reassurance when angry, but eventually learns how to cope with anger and other emotions as they get older.
  • Can usually pinpoint a situation that triggers or creates anger.
  • Parents can reason and communicate about emotional outbursts with their child.
  • Typically doesn’t show anger over small disruptions.
  • Show signs of emotional immaturity, especially anger, after the age of 7.
  • Can’t control emotional outbursts, anger and meltdowns, which often occurs on a regular basis.
  • Shows anger when they can’t communicate or when a parent/teacher doesn’t understand them (typically after speech and language development).
  • Anger or tantrums last more than 30 minutes.
  • Behavior interferes with building relationships at home or at school.
  • Causes bodily harm to themselves or to others on a regular basis.
  • Shows defiance, aggression and unexplained spouts of anger towards authority figures/adults.
  • Purposely breaks items, throws objects at others, and creates disorder in public places.
How do I help my child cope with anger?
  • Talk through meltdowns and what made the child angry.
  • Offer emotional and physical support to calm situations that cause anger.
  • Provide a safe and comfortable environment for the child to release emotional tension.
  • Participate in physical activity to calm symptoms (walks, park, swings).
  • Validate the child’s feelings and what caused the anger.
  • Teach your child that anger is a normal emotion and it’s ok to feel frustration at times.
  • Comment on their good behavior and positive experiences with emotions.
  • Take an interest in your child’s daily activities and accomplishments.
  • When appropriate, use humor to lighten the mood.
  • Find what triggers the anger or meltdowns (textures, communication, noise, light).
  • Recognize it may be a result of a learning challenge (ADHD, SPD, Autism, Dyslexia, Anxiety) and seek professional help.
  • Offer choices whenever possible for the most comfortable outcome.
  • Carry sensory kits to calm anger (stress balls, blankets, chewy toys)
  • Prep your child ahead of time for unfamiliar environments and surroundings (malls, family parties, stores).
  • Bring calming music for them to listen to on your iPod.
  • Participate in physical activity to calm symptoms (walks, park, swings).
What do I avoid with an angry child?
  • Try not to escalate the child’s anger and emotional stress with yelling or hurtful words.
  • Avoid situations that may point to spouts of anger.
  • To prevent the child from feeling neglected, become more involved in school activities and quality time at home.
  • If humor is used to help with anger, avoid using it when certain situations call for communicating with them about tough emotional issues.
  • Don’t create leeway if rules are already set in place; follow through with consequences.
  • Avoid punishment that doesn’t “fit the crime.”
  • Avoid spanking as it may escalate the situation.
  • Do not enable the child by allowing them to harm others or act inappropriately toward adults/authority figures.
  • Don’t give into tantrums or meltdowns or it could cause more in the future.
  • Avoid giving into the child one day and then taking it away the next; be consistent.
  • Try not to say negative comments for small behavioral issues and use praise instead.
  • Avoid situations that may lead to meltdowns or anxiety.
  • Don’t leave certain objects behind if they are used for comfort.
  • Avoid certain textures, noises, smells or irritations that may cause anger issues.

How to Recognize if My Child’s Anger Issues are Normal or if it’s Something More |

Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs

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