Anger is a normal human emotion that we all experience. Manageable levels of anger are helpful to young people if they need to defend themselves, stay safe and help identify problems and make changes. Anger is usually transitory and manageable however this relies on having healthy ways to recognise, express and deal with anger. Anger can become a problem when it is expressed in destructive or unhelpful ways that can have negative impacts on mental wellbeing.
How to identify anger?
Anger causes a number of physiological and psychological changes including feeling hot, sweating, fast breathing, tensing of muscles, churching stomach and rapid heart rate. Anger can also cause feelings of regret, guilt, grief, fear, helplessness and shame.
Anger expressed by young people can be a way to communicate that they are scared, frustrated, experiencing injustice, wanting to gain control, in pain, experiencing memories of a traumatic event or uncomfortable physical states such as tiredness, headaches or hunger.
If anger is ignored or not expressed healthily it can lead to internalization of anger or disruptive behaviours which can increase the risk of self-harm, anxiety and low mood.
What can teachers do to help children and young people deal with anger?
Ways of helping a young person varies for person to person and therefore spending time with young people, helping them to recognise their triggers and identifying which calming activities work for them will help you to help them during periods of increased frustration or anger.
3 top tips!
Explaining to young people what anger is and how it comes about can help them better understand what anger does to their bodies.
Helping children to recognise signs of anger and frustration can help them to reduce its impact on their behaviour. Exploring anger management strategies can help a young person cope better at times of increased anger or frustration.
Informing young people of who they can talk to and where to go if they are angry or worried about someone else can help to create safe environment which serve to reduce distressing scenarios occurring.