Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy and
Marital Therapy Centre

Rage and Violence in Children

Rage and Violence in Children

Rage is a common and unexceptional feeling. The difficult aspects of rage are; expressing it towards the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right intentions and in the right manner. These challenging aspects create chaos and influence a large part of child’s inner world, and cause uncontrollable situations in the lives of adults. Acquiring of the ability to express rage correctly is called “anger management”.

Children can scream and yell when they do not get what they want. Adults may think that this situation is meaningless and judge the children. However, in childhood and adolescence, rage helps to protect personality and indicates a good direction for development. A child with a strong aggressive instinct, who is not affected by punishment (the children people call 'shameless'), is often punished at school because he/she instinctively perceives every act as an attack and reacts with violence (when a friend bumps into them accidentally, they perceive it as an assault and engage in violence). Reactions are usually unbalanced and exaggerated in children who have a strong aggressive instinct but lack a large repertoire of behavioural responses.

In cases of children who cannot control their anger and are prone to aggressive behaviour, parents’ attitudes become very important (Yavuzer, 2005). Because anger is learnt by observation, parents can reinforce anger by being impatient with anger management issues and responding to violence with violence. The family's attitude towards the child’s aggressiveness is important. If the child gets the reward they want after a temper tantrum, their aggressive attitude is more likely to become a behavioural pattern. Both at school and at home, the child should be given tasks that they can complete and be praised for. Also, it is inarguably important not to label the child as “rageful child”.

For a child, an adolescent or an adult, taking their rage seriously is the most important thing. Their ability to cope is enhanced with every emotion that is taken seriously. It should be explained to children that having feelings of rage and having difficulty coping with it is normal; it would be useful to help them manage their behaviour and encourage them.

As rage can be an indication of other psychological issues, it is recommended that you seek help from a professional when it becomes impossible to deal with, it lowers quality of life at school/home, or harms relationships. 

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