My child is constantly angry


My 6 (almost 7) year old daughter is constantly angry. Anytime we tell her, "no," or she doesn't get her way, she gets this "angry face" and stomps around and pouts, or runs to her room to have a fit. I don't give in to her when she behaves this way, so I figured she'd realize it doesn't help and stop the behavior. This isn't the case. It's getting to the point that she is almost always angry, and it's upsetting to see her like this all the time. Any advice would be appreciated.


Children make displays like this because they perceive a benefit. Either it makes them feel they have some control over the situation or it gains them something, such as sympathy, delays in doing what was asked, or even getting out of doing what was asked. What you need to do is make it more beneficial for her to not be angry. Thus, get three pieces of paper and put smiley faces on each one. Put them on the refrigerator and tell her that you don't like it when she acts angry all the time, so you decided that if she can manage to not pout for a whole day you will give her (name a favored treat) at the end of the day. However, if she uses up her three tickets she won't get the treat.

Each time she throws a fit, simply remove a ticket but otherwise ignore her tantrum. Also, make sure that she does what is asked whether she is angry or not. If she manages to have at least one ticket left, make a big deal of how proud you are of her and give her the treat. Do this for at least two weeks to establish a better habit. You can then lower the number of tickets to two or increase the time to earn a treat, such as seven tickets over a week's time frame.

Comment from a Sister in Christ:

An often-used story is one of a man who was robbed. He said that he was thankful for several things: One, that he was not home when it happened. Two, that he did not have much of value to be taken. And three that he was the robbery victim, not the robber.

I'm sure it is told in a better way than that, but I do remember it. We call it the "Pollyanna attitude" around here. When my children start to complain, I will often ask them to name several things about a given situation for which they are thankful. For example, we were recently playing in a play area with some out-of-town company. My daughter was bored because it was really a toddler park. So I asked her name several things for which she was thankful. She decided she was thankful that she wasn't home doing chores, that she did enjoy playing with a cute little girl and that she liked her new outfit. Later, at lunch, she again started to grumble because chicken nuggets were not on the Mexican menu. I asked her to think of something to be thankful for. She said, "You're just trying to trick me!" In a way, it is a "trick" to keep a positive attitude despite our circumstances.

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