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Parenting Skills
For The Angry Child

Authored by William G. DeFoore, Ph.D.

You want parenting skills because you're frustrated about your angry child. You might even feel helpless and lost about what to do next! 

You're also smart enough to know that you are responsible for your child, and you're ready to learn how to change. You love your children, and want only the best for them, and that's why you're here and reading this.

parenting skills

Here are some helpful parenting tips to get you started right now:

1) Your child has good reasons for her/his anger--and you can find out what that is and solve the problem.

2) You have a lot more power in the situation than you might think--and that power is all based in love.

3) Good parenting skills are always based in love. Without the foundation of love, the best parenting in the world will not work.

Moms and Dads of angry children need a lot of good parenting tips, and that's what you'll find here, and on other pages on this site. Discover how you can become a positive parenting ally to your child, with unconditional parenting.

Your First Priority In Parenting Skills

The right parenting skills will not work at all or for very long, without these ingredients. Think about these points, and make sure you are clear and positive about them before trying to implement any of the skills described below.

  • Understand that anger starts out as a natural, healthy emotion that occurs when a child is feeling hurt, afraid or threatened.
  • Take responsibility for yourself as a parent, and for the parent child relationship. That means you have to check your own anger, to make sure that it is healthy. If you have anger problems yourself, you will have a real hard time helping your angry child.
playing together
  • Make up your mind to learn the parenting skills of love. You already love your child, but now you're going to get better at showing it in your parent child relationship.
  • Start paying attention to what your child most likes to do. This tells you a lot about how to love them. Just watch what they choose to do when they are free to do so. Don't judge, just pay attention...then join in and connect through the shared activity.

What kind of parenting did you receive as a child?

Okay, now that you have reached some level of comfort or even mastery of these points, it's time to take a look at one more very important piece--your personal history.

Many parents fall into one of these traps--take a look and see if any of these fits you:

  • Being the same kind of parent that your own parent(s) were--this can become justification for all kinds of abuse.
  • Thinking that your mistreatment of your children is "okay," because it's "not as bad as what was done to you." Good parenting is good parenting, and abuse is abuse--it has nothing to do with how good or how bad anybody else had it.
  • Trying to be the opposite of one or both of your parents--this might be an improvement, but it could end up just creating a different kind of problem. For example, if your father was very demanding, controlling or even abusive and you become totally passive and never stand up to your child as an effort to be the opposite, your child still loses.
  • Becoming more of a friend than a parent to your child. This often results from trying to be different from your mother and father's parenting skills.

Watch this video for a great example of positive parenting, and how it can empower a child to follow his dreams.

The Next Level Of Parenting Skills

The good person inside you is your best resource for good parenting. Look at these recommendations, think about them, and use the ones that feel right to you.

While I'm thinking of it, if your children are adolescents, you also need to learn about parenting teenagers.

Positive, rapport-building skills to create a loving nonverbal connection:

  1. Give lots of appropriate, nurturing touch. A lot of child anger problems result from deprivation of healthy, loving touch. Your hand on the child's arm, shoulder, back or face, tender and soft, to show your love is one of the most powerful parenting skills.
  2. Positive, friendly social skills. This just means smiling and saying "Hi" and "Hello" when you see your child. This may seem small and trivial, but it is actually very important. This gives your child the message that they matter, that you like them, and that you're glad they're in your life.
  3. Encouragement and thanks for specific behavior. For example, "Thanks for putting your shoes on!" or "Look at you! You got dressed and ready for school all by yourself!" This is much better than saying, "Good boy" or "Good girl." Keep the praise specifically about the behavior you like.

Limit-setting and disciplinary methods:

None of these parenting skills will work unless there is a container of love in your parent child relationship with the angry child. So, use these with that understanding, and always, always use the above three positive, rapport-building parenting skills along the way. You want your child to become their own best anger management resource.

Here we go:

  1. You need to establish a clear and consistent structure and schedule in your home. This creates a sense of security and well being in children, that helps them to make good choices. Examples are, mealtimes around the same time each day, family eating together, consistent bed times and getting-up times in the mornings.
  2. Provide more positive than negative feedback. If your child gets more negative than positive from you, he/she will start thinking and feeling they are "bad" and act the part. That's why some parents find that the more they punish their angry children, the worse the child's behavior gets.
  3. Spend one-on-one time with each of your children, ideally doing something that they enjoy. Ask them what they like about that activity, and get them to explain it to you. The idea is for you to go into their world, join with them, and that lets them know that you really are interested in who they are--not just who you want them to be.
sharing smiles
  1. Use these nonverbal communication skills when you're dealing with any kind of conflict, argument or discipline situation. The nonverbal parts of communication are much more important than the words you use.
  2. Avoid hitting, squeezing, pinching, thumping or striking your child in any way. While this might give you a sense of power and control in the moment, it will definitely do more harm than good.
  3. Rather than yelling or raising your voice, use touch to get your child's attention when you need it. Get on their level, eye-to-eye, and hold their hands gently but firmly in yours. Speak to them in a calm and loving but firm manner, and use "I" statements, such as, "I want you to eat your dinner now." or "I really don't like it when you do that." Then follow that statement with, "I like it a lot better when you...(fill in the blank)." the way, you really need to know about neglect and your child's basic needs! One of the reasons we get angry children is by neglecting their basic needs. Neglect is a form of silent abuse that can be devastating to a child. Learn more parenting skills at

Have A Story Or Question About
Child Anger?

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