W. Douglas Tynan, PhD, Steven Dowshen, MD, and Edward
Woomer, LCSW, Kids Health, July 2004
For more articles like this
Have you ever
lost your temper? Did you yell and scream or want to hit
someone? Maybe your little brother got into your room and played
with your toys without permission. Or maybe your teacher gave
you too much homework. Or maybe a friend borrowed your favorite
video game and then broke it. That made you angry!
Everyone gets angry. Maybe you "lose your cool" or "hit the
roof." Anger can even be a good thing. When kids are treated
unfairly, anger can help them stand up for themselves. The hard
part is learning what to do with these strong feelings.
What Is Anger?
You have lots of emotions. At different times, you may be
happy, sad, or jealous. Anger is just another way we feel. It's
perfectly OK to be angry at times - in fact, it's important to
get angry sometimes. But anger must be released in the right
way. Otherwise you'll be like a pot of boiling water with the
lid left on. If the steam doesn't escape, the water will finally
boil over and blow its top! When that happens to you, it's no
fun for anyone.
What Makes You Angry?
Many things may make kids angry. You may get angry when
something doesn't go your way. Maybe you get mad at yourself
when you don't understand your homework or when your team loses
an important game. When you have a hard time reaching a goal you
might become frustrated. That frustration can lead to anger.
Kids who tease you or call you names can make you angry. Or you
might get angry with your parents if you think one of their
rules is unfair. Worst of all is when you are blamed for
something you didn't do. But it's also possible to get angry and
not even know why.
How Can I Tell When I'm Angry?
There are different ways people feel anger. Usually your
body will tell you when you are angry. Are you breathing faster?
Is your face bright red? Are your muscles tense and your fists
clenched tight? Do you want to break something or hit someone?
Anger can make you yell or scream at those around you, even
people you like or love.
Some people keep their anger buried deep inside. If you do this,
you might get a headache or your stomach might start to hurt.
You may just feel crummy about yourself or start to cry. It's
not good to hide your anger, so you should find a way to let it
out without hurting yourself or others.
How Can I Tell When Someone Else Is Angry?
When someone you know is angry, he or she may stomp away or
stop talking to you. He or she may become quiet and withdrawn.
Some people scream and try to hit or harm anyone close by. If a
person is this angry, you should get away as soon as possible.
Once you are away from the angry person, stop and think. Try to
figure out what made that person so angry. Can you make the
situation better? How does the other person feel? When the other
person has cooled down, try to talk about the problem. Listen to
what he or she has to say.
What Should I Do If I Get Angry?
Don't lose control if you get angry. Taking it out on others
never solves anything. Instead, admit to yourself that you are
angry and try to figure out why. What can you do to keep the
situation from happening again? If your little sister gets a toy
and you don't, it's not OK to break that toy. Maybe you can ask
her to share it with you. Or if your science homework is too
hard, don't rip up your notebook. Ask your teacher or a parent
for help instead.
It helps to talk about your anger with an adult, such as a
parent, teacher, or relative. Once you talk about anger, those
bad feelings usually start to go away.
Here are some other things you can do when you start to feel
talk to a friend
you can trust
count to 10
get or give a
stamp your feet
beat up a pillow
because the pillow can't get hurt
draw a picture
of your anger
play a video
run around the
outside of the house five times as fast as you can
sing along with
pull weeds in
thoughts (maybe about a fun vacation or your favorite sport)
take a bike ride
or go in-line skating
angry is impossible. Instead, remember that how you act when
you're angry can make the situation better or worse. Don't let
anger control you. Take charge of it!
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