Releasing Anger

A young boy looks angry

When children are full of anger they can struggle to calm down. Learning how to release anger is key to enabling kids to cope with distressing feelings and avoid becoming overwhelmed. 

Because children's brains are not yet fully developed, they can struggle to regulate their emotions. When kids and teens experience strong feelings they may struggle to control their impulses. Anger release is important to avoid explosive outbursts and potentially hurting themselves or others.

When you can see that your child is overwhelmed and furious, suggest they try some of the techniques below to find a non-destructive strategy for releasing anger and calm down. Even if you are in the middle of an argument, take a temporary step back and suggest they find a way to decompress. This will enable you both to talk calmly and more rationally afterwards.  

Activities to release anger

  • Hitting something soft like a pillow or cushion
  • Tearing something up such as a newspaper
  • Blowing and bursting bubbles by stamping on them
  • Using paper and some crayons or pens to express their anger. They might draw thick red lines or scribble hard in black which goes through the page. 
  • Shouting or screaming into a pillow
  • Writing down words describing their anger and then screwing the paper up and throwing it away
  • Doing a physical activity e.g. sprinting on the spot, seeing how many star jumps they can do in a minute, or running up and down the garden. 
a child releasing anger

Calming activities 

Once they have emptied out some of the anger encourage them to do an activity that they find calming. Allow them time and space to do this and insist that everyone in the household leaves them alone for a while. Here are some ideas:

  • Drawing or colouring
  • Listening to music
  • Lying or sitting down and concentrating on their breathing 
  • Trying a breathing exercise- take a look at our box breathing video
  • Stretching and relaxing parts of the body starting with their feet and working up to their shoulders
  • Blowing bubbles and catching them and looking at the colours they can see
  • Closing their eyes and trying to picture a place where they feel happy and safe. This may be a place they have been to or an imagined place. 
  • Use a self-soothe box to find comfort and calm. Explore how to make your own self-soothe box
  • Wrapping up in a cosy blanket and hugging a favourite cuddly toy
  • Spending time with a pet
  • Thinking of happy things- a friend, an occasion they enjoyed such as a birthday, an activity they like.

Check out some more helpful tips on dealing with anger in teens on our website for dads at Dad Info.

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