The Angry Child
The book The Angry Child by Dr. Tim Murphy and Loriann Hoff Oberlin discuss how to understand and cope with the stress of dealing with an angry child. Although it is not an easy task, there is hope for these children and their families to be able to live a happy and peaceful life. There are many different factors that can spark or ignite anger in a child who is already predisposed to having a very short fuse. The guidelines in this book will show you some tools to help avoid conflict before it starts, but if you cannot avoid an outburst, there are ways to calm the situation.
“How angry is too angry” (Murphy, 2001, p. 20). Anger is an emotion that everyone will feel at some point in his or her lifetime. But there are some children that go beyond the emotion and go in to a rage that they cannot control. Sometimes it may only last for a few minutes, but for others it can go on for hours. It is at that point that you wonder if there is a bigger problem. Children will inevitably misbehave and throw tantrums about not getting what they want. But if the anger gets to a level where it is out of control, the emotion that they are feeling is most likely something other than anger. Dr. Murphy has redefined anger stating that it is “A powerful response, triggered by another negative emotion, that results in an attack of variable intensity that is not always appropriate.” Most of the time children do not realize that there is another feeling that is triggering these angry outbursts. The emotions underlying the anger can be just one or a combination of several feelings of pain, frustration, loneliness, fear, anxiety, embarrassment or even humiliation. For many children, they are unable to verbalize their feelings, and it makes them feel helpless.
Angry children have their own traits. Dr. Murphy has “identified ten characteristics that shape the way an angry child views the world.” (Murphy, 2001, p. 78) These traits may be less in some...