We sometimes mislabel them, of course, and assume annoyance is really outrage, but it is not.

Children respond with anger because they feel helpless.

Many of us were taught as children that we were not “allowed” to be angry, and that anger with parents or caretakers showed great disrespect and selfishness.

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There are differences between being annoyed, mad, angry, outrage…

and while these differences make little sense to children, as we grow older we can distinguish between these different emotions.

The task then becomes how to manage anger and channel it toward productive or at least acceptable outlets, and not how to deny or repress it.

Setbacks and obstacles can make us stronger if they challenge us to grow.

In a way, their anger is a response to frustration as well.

A child who is especially defiant may be behaving this way to counteract dependency and fears of loss.

Dealing with a child’s anger requires first finding out what they feel.

Ask them what’s happened, what went wrong, or why they are feeling what they feel. On the other hand, they may need your help to label their feelings.

A parent might respond to a child who hits his brother by asking why he hit him.