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  • Anger Management For Kids


    Dr. Sheldon Braaten

    Behavioral Institute For Children And Adolescents 1711 County Rd B West, Suite 110S

    Roseville, MN 55113

    Ph 651-484-5510 Fax 651-483-3879 email


  • Psychology of Anger Harry Mills, Ph.D.

    Anger is a natural and mostly automatic response to pain of one form or another (physical or emotional). Anger can occur when people don't feel well, feel rejected, feel threatened, or experience some loss. The type of pain does not matter; the important thing is that the pain experienced is unpleasant. Because anger never occurs in isolation but rather is necessarily preceded by pain feelings, it is often characterized as a 'secondhand' emotion.

    Pain alone is not enough to cause anger. Anger occurs when pain is combined with some anger-triggering thought. Thoughts that can trigger anger include personal assessments, assumptions, evaluations, or interpretations of situations that makes people think that someone else is attempting (consciously or not) to hurt them. In this sense, anger is a social emotion; You always have a target that your anger is directed against (even if that target is yourself). Feelings of pain, combined with anger-triggering thoughts motivate you to take action, face threats and defend yourself by striking out against the target you think is causing you pain.

    A Substitute Emotion

    Anger can also be a substitute emotion. By this we mean that sometimes people make themselves angry so that they don't have to feel pain. People change their feelings of pain into anger because it feels better to be angry than it does to be in pain. This changing of pain into anger may be done consciously or unconsciously.

    Being angry rather than simply in pain has a number of advantages, primarily among them distraction. People in pain generally think about their pain. However, angry people think about harming those who have caused pain. Part of the transmutation of pain into anger involves an attention shift from self-focus to other-focus. Anger thus temporarily protects people from having to recognize and deal with their painful real feelings; you get to worry about getting back at the people you're angry with instead. Making yourself angry can help you to hide the reality that you find a situation frightening or that you feel vulnerable.

    In addition to providing a good smoke screen for feelings of vulnerability, becoming angry also creates a feeling of righteousness, power and moral superiority that is not present when someone is merely in pain. When you are angry, you are angry with cause. "The people who have hurt me are wrong they should be punished" is the common refrain. It is very rare that someone will get angry with someone they do not think has harmed them in some significant fashion.

  • Anger Feeling Words Continuum

    Levels of Intensity

    Weak Mild Strong Intense

























    Burned up










    Put out




    Source: Pat Huggins, 2005 Helping Kids Handle Anger

  • Boiling hot

    Very cool

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  • ANGER!

    Anger is a completely normal human emotion. However, when it gets out of control it can become destructive. Uncontrolled anger can lead to problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. Anger - one letter away from Danger!

    What exactly is Anger? Anger has been described as "An emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage". What happens when I get angry? Like other emotions, anger causes physiological and biological changes. When you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, and so do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenalin.

    What causes people to get angry? As we all know, anger can be caused by both external and internal events.

    People get angry at a specific person (such as a co-worker or supervisor) or an event (a traffic jam, a cancelled flight).

    People get angry at those not even involved in the situation. Anger can be caused by worrying or brooding about personal problems - real or imagined. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.

    How do people express anger? The instinctive, natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats. It inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviours. This allows us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival. However, you can't go around tearing off people arms and lashing out at every person or object that irritates or annoys you!

    So what do people do instead? People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are Sharing, Calming and Suppressing. When none of these work, that's when someone - or something - is going to get hurt. The dog gets kicked!

    Sharing your anger

    Sharing your feelings and thoughts in an assertive, non-aggressive, manner is the healthiest way to diffuse anger. To do this, you have to learn how to get other people to understand your feelings and what you want. Equally importantly, you have to do this without hurting them. Being assertive doesn't mean being pushy or demanding... it means being respectful of yourself and others. This doesn't mean 'Let it all hang-out'...

    Calming your anger

    ("Calm down my dear!" Michael Winner did not invent this advice! It's been around for some time ...and it's very good advice.) This means not just controlling your outward behaviour but also controlling your internal responses. Deflate the situation by learning to control what's happening in your body as well to your mouth. If you want some tips on how to do this check out 'Relaxation' on the Anger Management Strategies page - link above.

    Suppressing your anger

    Anger can be suppressed and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger. When you stop reacting and focus on something else. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behaviour

  • The big danger in this type of approach is that if anger isn't allowed outward expression, it can turn inwards. You don't actually get it out of your system. Then some very nasty things can happen. Read more... FTT - Why are some people more angry than others? People who are easily angered generally have what psychologists call a low Frustration Tolerance Threshold - FTT. They feel that they should not have to be subjected to any frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. It's never their fault or responsibility. They think the world is out to get them. Most are 'hot-headed'. They get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does. However, some low FTT people don't show their anger in loud spectacular ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. They don't curse and throw things; they withdraw socially, sulk, or get physically ill. They 'get even' later.

    Change the way you think Psychologists call this Cognitive Restructuring, (they would ..wouldn't they?). "This !&**%@!! system never works!!"

    Logic defeats anger because anger, even when it's justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself.

    Have a positive outlook. 'Always look on the bright side of life... de dum de dum...' Remember that it is not the end of the world and that getting angry is not going to fix the problem. Utilise 'positive self-talk' to restructure how you are thinking about the problem. Remember that getting angry escalates the situation and heightens emotions. Logic can overcome anger. Give yourself time to think through the best solution to the problem, rather than just reacting.

    Change the way you think and you are likely to express yourself more effectively. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colourful terms. When you're angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones.

    Remind yourself that the world is 'not out to get you', you're just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life.

    Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, that it won't make you feel better, (and may actually make you feel worse). Will it really matter to you in a year's time? Apply these disciplines each time you feel anger getting the best of you and it will help you get a more balanced perspective.

    Relaxation Simple relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your 'gut'. Slowly rep


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