How to Help 6 Y/o Son Manage When He's Angry

Updated on April 15, 2010
P.D. asks from Missoula, MT
11 answers

I need some suggestions about how to help our 6 y/o son find appropriate ways to express his anger. He is a very sensitive soul who has a hard time expressing his emotions. When he express his anger he screams and stomps his feet. His screaming is more like a shriek and hurts my ears. I don't want him to keep his anger bottled up but need some suggestions. I have tried talking him thru some deep breathing and visualization. He tries for a minute or two and then gives up. Any positive, non-judgmental suggestions would be appreciated!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Colorado Springs on

I imagine that the deep breathing won't work as well for a child as it does for some adults. He may need a physical activity to release the stress of strong feelings. Now, I'm assuming you've taught him well about not taking his anger out on living things. But if there's such a thing as a punching bag for a six-year-old, that might be helpful for him. Or he could take his aggressive feelings out on some modeling clay that he could pound. He could run around the back yard six times as fast as he can. (He could get his siblings or his friends together and race, maybe.) If he's artistic, give him lots of big paper and paints or crayons and a place where he doesn't have to worry about not making a mess, and let him express his anger in his art. Maybe once he has a safe emotional outlet (or more than one), then when he has once settled down he will be able to talk more about what bothers him. Communication has to be a part of relieving anger - when he's at the point of being able to communicate. Hope this helps.

More Answers



answers from Bellingham on

Hello, I can understand your frustration....we have always used "Use your words" to help give them a better way to express what is going on...we don't know until they talk...also, it helps to give them a healthy time out - if he cannot use words to express or help you understand why he is upset, then he should be put in a time out where it is comforting to his wounds(anger) somewhere he has a familiar toy, a game, a book, soft animals, blankets, some place that will help him feel better and help to calm him down until he is ready to speak. Also, remember to help him understand that it is okay to be angry or upset, just not to act it out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

Practice those skills when he isn't mad. We have a little cd my sons psychologist made for him, it goes over tightening and relaxing his body from bottom to top and works on big breaths. It then reminds him that if he gets frustrated or stressed or worried throughout the day to first do his relaxing exercises then deal with the issue at hand. It took 3 months of doing the CD twice a day but it has helped a lot. My son is just 7. He has high anxiety and gets frustrated easily. He also has some fine motor delays so that just adds to it.
We also have a little paper we do after he is done being mad or frustrated or stressed.
It ask questions and we work on answers together (I try to mostly get him to do it alone)
1) What is the problem?
2) How do you feel or did it make you feel?
3) What can you do to solve the problem?

This has helped him learn to think through the issue while it's occurring but this has been even slower than a 3 month turn around in my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pueblo on

You could tell him that when he screams like that, it hurts your ears, so next time he wants to scream like that, he has to scream into a pillow, or a blanket, or into the couch, or he would have to do it in his room with the door closed. His choice...
But, whatever you do, don't try to teach him to bottle it in! Do you ever feel like doing visualizations when you are having a fight with your husband? I know I sure don't!
So, let him stomp his feet, or jump up and down, you can even ask him to stomp them harder and make a game out of it! And, don't worry, this, too shall pass. I think everyone goes through stages like your son.

Since you are talking about appropriate ways of expressing his anger, I sense that you get disturbed and embarrassed about the intensity of his expression. I can understand this if he does it in public. So, if he starts up inside a store, just calmly take him to the car and tell him that you won't let him out until he calms down because this is not how we behave inside stores. Your shopping will take longer, but he will get the message...



answers from Pocatello on

Actually if all he's doing is screaming and stomping feet, I;m totally jealous! My son throws the closest thing next to him at the closest person next to him. Or hits people really hard. Sometimes, people get seriously hurt! My daughter had to get stitches once when he threw a ceramic at her. He's thrown mason jars filled with things at me, all kinds of things. I know I'm not being much of a help, but I actually tend to encourage my son to scream. Yes, it might hurt the ears a little, but it's the least damage he could do. My son is developmentally challenged, and he can't express his feelings and emotions except through actions, so I'm trying really hard to teach him words like mad, sad etc. So that he can tell me how he's feeling instead of showing me. It hasn't helped yet, but we're getting a little closer...



answers from Salt Lake City on

It sounds kind of like my son, but not so intense. Screaming and stomping is definitely a much better way to deal with anger than hitting or something. My suggestion (what we've done with my son), is to calmly send him to his room (or take him, he may not be able to manage getting himself there) so that he can work through his emotions in private and then come out. This lets him know that, while it's okay to be angry, and to have to work through it like that, it's much better to do it alone where you're not disrupting others. (It can also help stop any reinforcement the behavior may be getting through other's reactions; sometimes we don't even realize how we may be feeding it).

Also take a look at your own behavior when you're angry. When I stopped and thought about it, I was surprised to realize that a lot of how my kids react to anger and disappointment mirrors how I react and how my husband reacts. We've been trying to moderate our own behavior and be good examples of how to deal with emotions; hopefully our kids will start to follow suit :)



answers from New York on

The best book for this comes from a series on childhood behavior (from age one through the school years). "Your Six-Year-Old: Loving and Defiant" Paperback (Apr. 15, 1981) by Louise Bates Ames and Frances L. It's the series used by our parenting support group, coordinated by our local hospital with a family therapist.

You can find it on amazon for $10 or used for $3.50 on It would seem dated but its not, it's based on years of research on child behavior and this doesn't really change much from one generation to the next.


answers from Atlanta on

You are a great mom to be so attuned to your child's negative and positive emotions. Kudos!

First, anger is usually driven by an underlying feeling such as fear, frustration, or even loss. Try to find out what your son is feeling by just asking him why he is upset. Of course he needs to be calm for this so you'll also need to convey to him that you love him and want to help him but you need him to be calm. If he refuses, it is time for him to learn limits. Feelings are okay, but misbehavior is not. Consider using a time in instead of a time out. If you are interested, you can read more about that in my blog at

Deep breathing and visualization are excellent ideas but because a child's attention span is so low, it is difficult to practice. You might just choose one that is easier like deep breathing. I like this because their are physical connections between breath and the mind becoming calm.

Your son is old enough to participate in the plan of action to manage his own frustration. Ask him what he would like to do to manage his anger. Of course use your judgement in approving his plan.

Good luck!!



answers from Saginaw on

My 6 year old son has Mild Inattentive ADD, he is and always has been extremely emotional. He will cry when he thinks that he's gotten into trouble, or stomp his feet and scream at me when he's mad at me. As strange as this sounds, it helps to act like when he's mad and throwing a temper tantrum, that it has hurt my feelings. And I calmly, but in a "you hurt my feelings" kind of voice, ask him to come to me, and I hug him and tell him that it's okay to be upset, but stomping and yelling is not going to help the situation. And usually try to talk to him and get him to talk about what he is angry about and work out a solution together.
Hope that helps! Good luck!



answers from Denver on

My 4 year old is like this and I can tell already this is going to be a life-long struggle for him and I am sure I have hearing loss from his shrill! My brother calls him "The Tea Kettle".

I have tried everything and two things seem to help - a lot. First, is I send him to his room to calm down. He seems to get more elevated when I try to help him calm down or try to sweet talk him out of his fit. He also does not like being sent away so it works out perfect, he gets the time to calm down and also learns that it is not ok to react this way. There seems to be a big connection they make learning to calm themselves down.

Second, my husband and oldest son are always calmly telling him to "keep it together" or "think it through". This started with the love of video games, they are only allowed to play them on the weekends and even then the time is limited. If I hear crying or carrying on in and around video games It is over for that weekend. So you can see there is a huge motivation for the 4 year old and the other two to keep it calm. Believe it or not my son seems to respond to it quite well. Maybe you just need a motivator to help him feel the desire to not overreact and calm himself down.

Good luck!



answers from Denver on

My son actually had his emotional outbursts at school. We had a counselor who helped him cope with his emotions. She had pictures of kids with different expressions/feelings and that helped guide him to express himself in another manner. She also helped him find a place where he could go to calm down until he was ready to deal with the issue. She even had a device where he could wrap himself up and it held him (kind of like when you swaddle a baby). I guess this type of sensory helps to calm down kids who have a hard time expressing themselves. If he is in school, you may want to see if your district has a counselor or a therapist that can provide assistance.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions