Seeking Professional Help for an Angry Child
At what point does a child's normal outburst of anger turn into an indicator of future violence, aggression, and hate?
When children consistently demonstrate behaviors, such as intense anger, frequent loss of temper, extreme irritability, impulsiveness, and frustration, it should be taken seriously and not dismissed as a "phase they will outgrow." This complex and troubling issue needs to be examined and understood by parents, teachers, caregivers, employees, and other adults.
Something was different about Blake. Bedtime, mealtime, play time, it didn't matter. Everything turned into an episode.
"He was my first child, so I thought we just weren't doing something right," says Blake's mom. "Family and friends were quick to offer suggestions. I read every book on discipline and my husband and I exhausted every behavior strategy we knew."
Ever since Blake was 18 months old, daily activities such as getting dressed, eating breakfast, playing with toys, and going to school often resulted in an emotional meltdown. The behavior varied, but was frequently characterized by screaming, hitting, head banging, and throwing whatever object was within reach. He was kicked out of two preschool programs and was constantly in trouble during his first few years of elementary school. As a consequence of his behavior, he was frequently isolated from his peers and labeled as a discipline problem.
"We were afraid of our own son. One time when he was seven he became so enraged over going to bed that he grabbed his cat by the neck and threw him across the room." After seven years of constant turmoil, Blake's parents decided to seek professional help.
Last reviewedMay 2012by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.