The Effects Of Anger On Children
I know a family, and from the outward appearances, they are the perfect family. The parents are good-looking, the dad has a lucrative job, and the mom gets to stay at home and raise her children. The children are beautiful. The oldest is dark and looks like dad, and the younger two are blondes like their mom. They live in a gorgeous house they built themselves. Everything looks and sounds idyllic. However...
Both of the parents have anger management problems. They allow themselves to explode with anger over anything they choose no matter who their outbursts are aimed towards. Family members and friends have all felt the sting of their anger, and they constantly vent these angry feelings on each other and the children. Although it isn't physical violence, the emotional toll of all this anger is mounting.
The oldest child, who biologically only belongs to the dad, lives in the household most of the week. He's 8 now, and a husky, athletic kid. When he was younger, he cringed at everything for fear of being in trouble yet again. He was always expected to do far more than he should have had to handle at his young ages and then verbally criticized for his failures. He spends a lot of time sucking on his fingers and telling lies trying to avoid yet another punishment. He doesn't do well in school, and, of course, he's always in trouble for that, too.
The middle child is a 5-year-old boy. He has severe anger management issues of his own. Although he is extremely bright and initiates a lot of learning on his own, he is condemned for his lack of athleticism. He gets 100% on all of his school work, but he has numerous problem behaviors at school, such as spitting at other children, refusal to follow directions, and fighting on the playground and bus. His answer to most situations at home is to withdraw and sulk. He always seems angry.
The littlest child is a 2-year-old girl. Although she's still very young, she mirrors the situation she lives in by screaming loudly all the time. She has a very touchy disposition, especially around her parents. She can be a total delight when they aren't around, a fact that the parents refuse to believe.
Of course, there is a lot more to this story, but I only wanted to give you a brief overview of what anger can trigger in children. Without the coping skills that adults should have, these kids are out of control. I can only imagine what their teen years are going to bring.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Thank you for this excellent contribution, Corrine. People really need to be aware of the effects of anger on children, and your story makes it very clear how devastating the effects can be. And I agree, it only gets worse in adolescence. Let's hope and pray that the parents get a wake up call and get some help.
For any parents reading this who want to improve their parenting of angry children, read about the angry child.
My very best to you,
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