Anger is a psychological state and an emotional phenomenon that the child feels in the early days of his life and that accompany him in all the stages of his life till death. As long as know that anger is an inherent behavior in man since his birth, it is wrong to consider anger as an objectionable phenomenon and a bad emotional condition. This is because when Allah The Almighty created man and inserted his instincts, tendencies and feelings in him, this was done for a great wisdom and an obvious social interest.
The benefits of anger include protection of life, religion, honor and the Muslim state from the evil plots of the aggressors and colonialists. Without this phenomenon that Allah The Almighty installed in man, the Muslim would not become angry when the sacred ordinances of Allah are violated, His religion abused, or enemies attempt to seize man’s land and wealth. Although many sociologists and educationists consider anger a reprehensible vice and dispraised habit, they only really mean the reprehensible anger that leads to the worst results and the gravest consequences in life. This happens when a person becomes angry and agitated for his personal interests and selfish motives, and it is obvious that this anger causes disunity, disintegrates the community and eradicates the meanings of brotherhood, love and purity throughout the society.
Causes of anger
Since we have acknowledged that anger is an innate phenomenon and natural behavior in children, we need to know the causes which irritate children so that this knowledge will serve as a first step in guiding children towards suppressing and controlling their anger. There are three important emotions that arouse the child’s anger: provocation, frustration and injustice. Let us see some examples for each feeling.
• Someone steals my ball.
• Someone stands in front of me in the line.
• My sister plays with my toy without my permission.
• Someone makes fun of me because I am overweight.
• My friend breaks his promises.
• I cannot find a solution to this mathematical equation.
• I cannot get any help from the teacher.
• I fail to score points in tennis.
• I want to be a friend to someone but he does not want to be my friend.
• I am usually overlooked when they select the team.
• My parents will not let me stay late outside as I want.
• I am always accused of cheating while I do not do it at all.
• The test is very difficult.
• I scored the ball correctly, but it was considered a foul.
[The power of positive talk, Douglas Block]
These are the from the child’s point of view, but then there are motives on the part of the one assuming the nurturing process which we may call “motives of anger”.
If hunger is the motive and cause of anger, you should seek to feed the child at the due time. This is because neglecting nutrition leads to physical diseases and psychological emotions.
If illness is the motive and cause of anger, you should seek to treat the child medically and prepare him to be healthy.
If unnecessary blame and reproach of the child are the motives and causes of anger, you should not use words of abasement and humiliation lest psychological defects and angry emotions take root in the child’s psychology.
If the child’s imitation of his parents in anger is the motive and cause of anger, parents should set a good example in forgiveness, patience and self-control during fits of anger.
If excessive cuddling and luxury are the motives and causes of anger, you should be moderate in your love for your children and be normal in showing them mercy and financially supporting them.
If mockery, ridicule, and name calling are the motives and causes of anger, you should avoid these raging causes so that the phenomenon of anger is not rooted in the psyche of the child.
How do we teach our children to control their anger?
It is a mistake that we punish the child when he expresses his anger in an inappropriate way unless we have taught him how to express his feelings and how to be angry. The innocent child does not know these rules and principles, and remains ignorant of them till we guide, refine and alert him. Here are some tips to help you with this task:
1. -Help your child to link his feelings with their causes, and talk to him to find out what made him angry along with showing him support.
2. -Let him know that we listen to his feelings and accept them. Tell him, “You are right to be upset because I did not listen to you. Now, I am listening to you”.
3. -Tell him directly that hitting is not an acceptable way to deal with anger, informing him of the negative consequences of each case of anger.
4. -Assist him to say what he wants; he will often begin to sob and complain about what disturbs him. He, for example, will say “Hind took my toy,” then say to him, “Go to her and ask her to return it to you. Tell her that the toy is yours and that you want it.”
5. -Be a good role model to him. When you are angry, say it out loud and explain the cause of your anger before it turns into suppressed anger.
6. -Persistently teach him to use words to express his anger instead of expressing it with actions. Teach the child to say loudly, “I am angry,” or, “You are bothering me” instead of resorting to profanity or physical violence. Let him feel that you are upset at seeing him upset and are ready to help him.
7. -Expressing the child’s feelings keeps him away from the chaos of angry feelings.
8. -Show your feelings and talk about them quietly in the moments of satisfaction and anger and in the spiritual moments that he shares with you and in which he expresses his feelings.
9. -Encourage your child to write down the feelings that he cannot express. Writing helps man express what is inside him easily.
10. -Do not forget that expressing their feelings gives children a clearer, more stable and happier character.
11. -We should not make the child suppress his feelings or reject them, even if they are simple, such as his feeling of sadness due to the loss of his toy or story. We should not underestimate his internal feelings and we have to encourage him to demonstrate them. For example, it is wrong to say to the child, “You cannot be tired because you have only just woken up,” or “Why did you hit him? He seems to be a nice child,” or “Shortly your stress will die down.” No matter how sincere these pieces of advice are, they implicitly censure his feelings. Accordingly, he will try to adopt our feelings, that is, to force him to mistrust his personal feelings.
12. -Train your child to accept some defeats and frustrations with a sporting spirit.
13. -Fasten a notice in which it is written: “Our motto is the saying of the Prophet ‘Do not be angry.'”
14. -Teach them the manners of the Prophet in anger, like making ablution, changing the position of the angry person from sitting, standing, or lying down, and performing prayer. We should adhere to these manners ourselves so that the children would imitate us.
15. -Explain the verses and Hadeeths talking about the mercy and forbearance of the Prophet by reading his Seerah (biography) as well as the life and sayings of the righteous predecessors.
16. -Pass a house-rule which bans expressing anger in insults or hitting.