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Do You Need Anger Management?

Behind the Outbursts:  Behavioral Issues & Anger Management

As a parent, you expect to deal with emotional outbursts occasionally.  Children have temper tantrums, teenagers rebel—it’s an unavoidable part of growing up.  But what happens when you start to question the behavioral issues?  Whether the anger’s growing more frequent or more extreme, it could be a sign of underlying mental health issues.


Anger Isn’t a Bad Thing

At least, it doesn’t have to be.  In many cases, it’s a natural expression of emotion.  A way to release your feelings when you’re upset.  You’re allowed to be angry sometimes!  In fact, many experts would argue that it’s healthy, since the effects of repressed anger are well-known and long-lasting.  But we can’t let our emotions rule us completely.  Our instincts can carry outbursts much too far—if we let them.


Finding the Balance

Like much of parenting, you have to achieve a balance that’s right for you and your family.  Simultaneously, you’re trying to teach both control and authenticity.  After all, you don’t want them to repress their anger completely.  But neither do you want them to let this emotion go unchecked.  Especially when it veneers near the destructive side—toward themselves or toward others.  Watch for behavior that seems out excessive or dangerous and listen what others have to say.  When those who interact with your child, such as teachers or caregivers, start to take note of the problem, it’s time to do something about it.  Moreover, when it begins to truly disrupt your family life and/or other relationships, consider digging a little deeper.

Address the Problem Early On

If you suspect that your child’s behavioral outbursts are a sign of anger issues or something else, then you should it address it.  Too often, we see parents try to make excuses for erratic behavior.  Or respond to their anger by placating them and giving in to demands.  Unfortunately, this only serves to mask underlying issues that may be present.  Furthermore, it creates unrealistic expectations for future behavior and unhealthy patterns.


Instead, model positive means of handling anger.  Such as discussing the problem with someone you can trust or taking the time to cool down before engaging in an angry confrontation.  Feel free to talk to them about these topics too, but if that’s doesn’t work, be prepared to seek out professional help.  Too often, uncontrollable anger in children (and adults) signals bigger mental health issues.  It could be ADHD, bipolar disorder, undiagnosed anxiety or past trauma.  Especially if problems persist or worsen after age 8, it’s time to reach out to your local resources.

At The Family Center, we offer services for a wide range of mental health needs.  From family counseling, to anger management, to psychological testing and treatment, we can work with you and your child(ren).  Together, we’ll help to uncover what’s behind those outbursts and implement techniques to handle anger more constructively in the future.  Tackling behavioral issues is a part of parenting, but when you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to help.  Throughout Howard County, Carroll County, and Anne Arundel County Maryland, contact us today to learn more.

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