My son is two, which means he's just starting to talk and finally express his emotions through words. In fact, just today, after receiving his flu shot and crying for twenty minutes, he touched his band-aid and told me, "Cry! Hurt!" Poor thing. We had to talk about that traumatic flu shot for about a half an hour before he calmed down enough to move onto the next activity. He's a sensitive little guy. But generally, at this point in his development, I can understand what he's feeling and help him through the more difficult emotions.
The other day, my son was trying to balance his animals on his garbage truck, and after trying for a few minutes, they all fell down. In frustration, he threw the garbage truck to the floor. "Oh no!" I said, "What happened?" He didn't hear me. He went to his toy bin and began throwing all his toys to the floor.
I was at a stand still. Obviously, he needed to express his anger. But he doesn't yet have the words to say, "I'm angry!" or "Why didn't that work the way I wanted it to?" We don't usually let him throw things, but in that moment, he was doing what he needed to do to let go of his anger. I told him it wasn't nice to throw his toys on the floor, but I let him do it. After a few minutes, he went back to playing as if nothing had transpired.
I began thinking about how he should express his anger. How do I express anger? Unfortunately, it's not always in a healthy way. I'm not often truly angry, but when I am, I've been known to yell, or say unkind things to my husband.
And really, how many adults express anger in a healthy way? I know some people who yell, throw adult tantrums, pout or insult others. So, I'm at a crossroads with my toddler. How do I teach him to express his anger in a healthy way? I want him to know that it's okay to be angry, but I don't want him to express it through throwing or screaming. What can I do?
Sarahlynne loves writing for Shine as a Parenting Guru. She also writes for merelymothers, a website that discusses many of the tough issues that parents face.