When a child wants to be left alone with his or her anger

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When a child wants to be left alone with his or her anger

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Sometimes children will say to us, "just go away" when they're angry. What's happening with that and what should you do? Well, first we have to understand that anger is always a response to deeper feelings that are scary like fear or painful like hurt. So when your child is angry she doesn't want to feel those other feelings. They're bubbling up. And she wants to stay angry. If you're with her and you're being compassionate, she going to burst to tears and feel those feelings that she really doesn't want to feel. So you actually don't want to go away and leave her alone because that will mean she'll just sop those feelings back down again and will come up another time. And in the meantime, she's more rigid and difficult. So, what do you do? You say to her, "okay, sweetie, I hear you telling me to go away. I'm going to step back a couple of steps but I'm not going to leave you alone with this big scary feelings. I'm right here when you need me". And you're assuming presence, a safe presence that create safety for her to feel the feelings that are coming up for her.

See Laura Markham, PhD's video on When a child wants to be left alone with his or her anger...

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Laura Markham, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Laura Markham is the author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University and has worked as a parenting coach with countless parents across the English-speaking world, both in person and via phone. You can find Dr. Laura online at AhaParenting.com, the website of Aha! Moments for parents of kids from birth through the teen years, where you can sign up for her free daily inspiration email.  Dr. Laura lives in New York with her husband and her kids, who are now 17 and 21.

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