Responding to An Angry Child

When addressing a child who is upset and angry, first ground your own emotions before engaging with the child. Raising your voice might make matters worse. Children sometimes need to be heard and/or express themselves through venting or expressing their emotions. By listening, children may feel understood and accepted. Remember, depending on the child’s age, maturity, or developmental advances, they may not have the words or vocabularies to ask questions or the life experiences to figure things out. When caregivers engage with children who are experiencing a highly emotional state, to the extent possible, ask open-ended questions and let the child express themselves. Caregivers should engage in active listening and be attentive to children’s nonverbal cues. In addition:

· Try to characterize their concerns by paraphrasing the child’s exact words;

· Ask the child if you got right, if not what part do you misunderstand;

· Ask the child if there is anything else he/she wants to share;

· Reflect on what the child is saying, as well the meaning, and

Sometimes children need reinforcement. Caregivers may need to follow-up with the child and repeat the aforementioned steps. Some issues require time and healing. Trust and bonding may result when a child recognizes that you care enough to ask questions and listen to them. For more information, see two noteworthy blogs: "Mirroring your child's Intense Emotions"(Under Wing Therapeutic Services, 2020) and "Angry Child Outbursts: 10 Essential Rules for Dealing with an Angry Child" (Banks, 2020).


Banks. C. (n.d.) Angry Child Outbursts: 10 Essential Rules for Dealing with an Angry Child. Retrieved from

Under Wing Therapeutic Services. (n.d.) Mirroring Your Child's Intense Emotions: 4 Easy Steps. Retrieved from

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