Is it ADHD or something else?

147: Angry Kid: Tamping Down Moodiness and Anger

In this episode, we tackle the challenge of supporting angry kids amid the high stress levels that both children and adults face.
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Experiencing moodiness and anger is generally normal for kids. It becomes a concern when it interferes with their life – school, relationships, or causes frequent distress. That's when it's more than just a phase and it's a sign that something isn't right. It's a call for us as parents to support them through tough times.

In this episode, we tackle the challenge of supporting angry kids amid the high stress levels that both children and adults face.

Managing your kid’s anger and moodiness.

What I want to emphasize is that kids are not intentionally acting out; it's often a struggle rooted in not knowing how to handle things. Consider what might be happening at home; stressors like bullying, inadequate sleep, or poor nutrition can significantly affect a child's behavior and mood.

Bullying has the potential to plant seeds of distress and agitation in a child's psyche, directly impacting how they engage socially and manage their emotional well-being. Insufficient sleep, often overlooked, is linked to increased irritability and a decline in cognitive function, impeding a child's capacity to regulate their emotions and actions effectively. Likewise, inadequate nutrition, typically characterized by deficiencies in essential nutrients, may result in mood fluctuations and an absence of emotional equilibrium, significantly influencing a child's overall demeanor and conduct.

Low frustration tolerance and a lack of coping skills are often at the core of why some kids grapple with anger and irritation. Clinical issues or conditions like sensory processing disorder or rejection sensitive dysphoria can also heighten sensitivity, but at its heart, it's about coping inadequately. These patterns often stem from what we learn and inherit from our parents.

Effectively addressing strategies to manage moodiness and anger stands as a pivotal aspect of fostering emotional well-being. Sharing our own controlled regulation and how we physically present ourselves is crucial. Articulating and demonstrating these strategies ensures a foundational understanding of emotional regulation and behavior management. It offers a roadmap for children and adolescents to navigate their emotional turbulence, guiding them in recognizing, understanding, and responding constructively to their feelings.

Calming an irritated child through sensory support.

I would like to share a powerful realization that truly moved me – how unresolved issues can affect our children. It's vital to do our inner work, acknowledging our own histories and upbringing, to support our kids better. Merely providing a good environment isn't enough; we need to actively aid in calming the brain and regulating emotions. Calming the brain involves various approaches like magnesium supplementation, PMF, Neurofeedback, meditation, and yoga, all aimed at supporting both our and our children's mental well-being. If your child's baseline is consistently moody or irritable, without any sudden triggers or traumatic events, it's crucial to explore underlying reasons.

Sensory support, often overlooked, can work wonders. It helps modulate the nervous system and reduce reactivity to the environment, easing irritability and anger. These sensory supports can be diverse like using weighted blankets, swings, baths, or specific movements tailored to each individual's needs. The key is to demonstrate and guide our children toward these strategies, showing them what we want them to do.

Parenting strategies for dysregulated kids.

As parents, we've got to focus on reinforcing and shaping the behaviors we want to see in our kids. Instead of doing things for our kids, we guide them through it. It's about consistently acknowledging and reinforcing the positive steps they take. Keep in mind that consistency is the real challenge in building desired behaviors, whether it's in self-discipline or with our kids.

Moreover, choosing when to address certain behaviors is crucial. For younger kids, social stories helped, painting scenarios that indirectly related to their experiences. It's about understanding when our kids are receptive to these conversations and strategies, knowing that trying to reason with them when they're dysregulated might not yield the desired results.

It's common for defenses to go up when addressing behavioral issues, but role-playing can be a lifeline for dysregulated kids. That’s why we need to focus on building skills and a critical part of this process involves managing the nervous system, especially when dealing with an angry child whose behavior can affect the whole family dynamic.

For more information about moods and behavior, you may check out the following blog posts:

●      Proven Strategies Control Anger

●      Clinical Guide Mood and Behavior

●      7 Strategies to Improve Mood And Mindset

Check out this related podcast : Episode 80: Is My Child's Anger Normal?

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147 Therapist-Endorsed

Self-Regulation Strategies

for Children

A Practical Guide For Parents

147 therapist endorsed self-regulation strategies for children a practical guide for parents
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