Anger in kids

Anger and fear in certain respects, are rather closely related. In the first place they are both ‘emergency’ responses of the unpleasant variety and consequently involve very similar patterns of change in physiological, processes, changes designed to prepare the organism for immediate, strenuous, overt activity. Sometimes both these emotions are aroused simultaneously and by the same stimulus. However, because ordinarily there are more anger-provoking than fear arousing occasions in the protected life of the child, anger is more frequent response than fear in children.

Anger is not synonym for aggression. It is a mixture of feelings and physiological reactions, rather than an observable action like aggression. Anger is an experience and aggression and behaviour. So one can be angry without being aggressive and sometimes aggressive without being angry.

Anger is one of the primary emotions and usually has a specific cause. According to one school of thought people get angry when they feel threatened. Other authorities believe a far wider variety of occurrences can provoke anger. Some feel that frustration; unexpected failures to reach a desired goal are sources of anger. A more generally held view is that anger is caused by unpleasant events, which we want to avoid.

According to Teacher Training Mumbai anger does not exist at birth. The situations that do give rise in early infancy are those involving pain or discomfort or bodily restraint. The number and variety of restraining factors and situations rapidly grow and interfere with his free bodily movements. His own inabilities quickly become sources of frustration. His activities, which are frequently interfered with or blocked give, rise to anger.

According to Montessori Teacher Training, the occasions that elicit anger parallel the course of development. A child’s susceptibility to anger at any given maturity level is influenced by the limitations and by the urges, strivings, and activity tendencies that are characteristic of that level.

Anger responses change with age. Early Childhood Program has described four characteristics of infant anger.

  • The young infant is completely egocentric, he becomes concerned only when conditions within and outside his own body cause him pain, discomfort, or frustration.
  • Along with his egocentricity is his complete intolerance of bodily discomfort or restraint. He shows it by crying, kicking, struggling and twisting.
  • The young infant is exceedingly demanding. In his intolerance of discomfort he demands immediate relief. He cannot defer satisfaction of his needs.
  • Finally, the baby is very explosive and violent in is anger expression.

Violent outbursts of rage are common in young children. The preschool child is likely to express anger in much the same way as the infant. However, there are individual differences depending upon the frustration tolerance power, original temperamental mature, factors in the environment and the experiences he has undergone.

Early Childhood Education researchers have described anger responses in the following way. Impulsive responses – are usually called aggression. They are directed against persons, animals or objects. They may be physical or verbal, and they may be mild or intense. Violent outbursts of anger or temper tantrums, are typical in young children. Children do not hesitate to hurt others by any method at their disposal – hitting, biting, spitting, kicking, punching, poking or pulling. Around the age of 4 years, language is added to the repertoire of angry responses.

Inhibited responses – are kept under control or bottled-up. Children may become apathetic, suggesting indifference or “lack of guts”. Such behaviour is labelled impunitive. They show their anger by acting hurt, being sullen, feeling sorry for them or threatening to run away.

Conclusion: – Children may withdraw into themselves, thus fleeing from the offending person or object.