Difficulty with low frustration tolerance and anger are common facets of ADHD. As a parent it is easy to get entangled in power struggles with your child, especially when you perceive his/her behavior is an attempt to manipulate a situation to get his/her way. Although tantrums and anger outbursts may appear manipulative, research has suggested that children with ADHD have delayed development in the region of the brain that is thought to govern emotions (limbic system). You may also observe tantrums, explosive anger, and aggression due to delayed development in the region of the brain that is thought to be responsible for allowing children to monitor their behaviors and control their impulses (frontal lobes). Children with ADHD often overreact to upsets and experience significant difficulty controlling their emotions and impulses to act out their frustration and/or anger. Understanding that anger outbursts may not be an attempt to manipulate a situation can help you stay calm and assist your child in managing his/her frustration and anger in healthy and appropriate ways. Here are some helpful tips to with assist you with this process.
- Prevention should always be the first step to helping your child with managing anger. Try to structure your household and community activities as much as possible to prevent anger outbursts and/or tantrums from occurring.
- Try to recognize when your child is becoming frustrated/angry. Use your child’s frustration/anger as indication that you need to take a few moments before you respond. Take a few deep breaths; this will give you time to craft a clam and rational response.
- If you feel yourself losing control over your words and actions, it is time to take a time out. After you have cooled down you can come back and address the situation.
- Let your child know that everyone feels angry from time to time and that it is a normal part of life.
- Learning how to manage anger in a healthy and productive manner does not come naturally. It is important that teach your child specific anger management skills.
- Teach your child to take several deep breaths when he/she is becoming frustrated or angry. Repeat as necessary until he/she is able to talk or behave in a controlled manner.
- Encourage your child to use physical activities (e.g., bike riding, shooting hoops, running, jumping rope, etc.) to workout anger.
We offer counseling and social skills groups to help children cope with symptoms of ADHD. If you or someone you know would like more information contact our office at (503) 352-0240.
Yours in Health,New Horizons Wellness Services
13333 SW 68th Pkwy,
Tigard, OR 97223
New Horizons Wellness Services provides a true multidisciplinary approach to mental & physical health treatments for children, adults and families.