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Everybody Gets Mad: Helping Your Child Cope with Conflict

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Help Children to act Calm

  • Let them know that it takes more courage to walk away from a fight than to stay and fight.

  • Teach them that fights don't solve problems—they make new ones.

  • Remind them that when they get mad but don't fight, they have really won.

Sometimes, getting along with other kids is hard. Some kids:

  • Get into fights when they are angry.

  • Get teased a lot.

  • Encourage others to fight.

This can make your child feel bad or get in trouble. Teach your child how to deal with anger and stay out of trouble.

Everyone Gets Mad

Anger doesn't usually last a long time, but it is a very strong feeling when it happens.

Children get mad when:

  • Their feelings are hurt or they can't do what they want.

  • Others don't understand them or lie about them.

  • They feel left out or others don't act the way they want.

When children are mad, their bodies react:

  • Their hearts beat faster and their faces feel hot and sweaty.

  • It might be hard to breathe and they can't think clearly.

  • They have a lot of energy and want action.

When children are angry, it is:

  • Good to put their feelings into words.

  • Not good to hit someone, break things, or say things that hurt.

Teach your Child to act Calm

When children get mad, they can ACT:

Acknowledge.

  • Acknowledge angry feelings.

  • Notice changes in their bodies.

Calm down.

  • Breathe deeply, count to 10, or walk away.

  • Punch a pillow, run, or play music.

Think and talk.

  • Think about the problem and ways to fix it. If someone doesn't know what children are trying to say or do, they need to explain themselves.

  • Talk with someone about being mad and ways to fix the problem without fighting. If there is nobody to talk to right away, stop and think, “This is why I'm mad and what I need to do is …”

If someone tries to start a fight, your child can be the one to stay CALM:

Calm down.

  • Keep a safe distance from the other person.

  • Take slow, deep breaths.

  • Stay alert and stand tall.

Avoid.

  • Avoid name-calling or returning insults. It only makes things worse.

  • Avoid other kids who may want to fight. Try to talk in private with the kid who wants to fight.

Listen.

  • Calmly listen to what the other kid says.

  • Ask, “What does this person really want?”

Move on.

Find ways to solve the problem without fighting.

  • Use humor. “I wouldn't want you to catch my cold.”

  • Give a reason. “We'll both get thrown off the team if we fight.”

  • Walk away. If nothing else works, it's best to walk away.

Children do what they see others do. You are your child's most important role model.

If your child is still having trouble getting along with other kids, talk with your pediatrician.

Copyright © 2006

Additional Resources

The Center for Young Women’s Health (CYWH) is a collaboration between the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and the Division of Gynecology at Boston Children’s Hospital. The Center is an educational entity that exists to provide teen girls and young women with carefully researched health information, health education programs, and conferences.
Young Men’s Health (YMH) is produced by the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. The purpose of the website is to provide carefully researched health information to teenage boys and young men.
The mission of girlshealth.gov is to promote healthy, positive behaviors in all girls. Girlshealth.gov gives girls reliable, useful information on the health issues they will face as they become young women, and tips on handling relationships with family and friends, at school and at home.
Information for employed teens.

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  • Remembering Dr. Russell Irons

    To All our Quincy Pediatrics Families, Friends, Patients and Colleagues,
    It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Russell Irons, January 3, 1927-July 28, 2019.  Dr. Russell Irons touched the lives of so many people as a beloved physician, father, grandfather, friend, and colleague.  Dr. Irons started Quincy Pediatrics in 1971 and provided exceptional care to his patients for over forty-five years.   Dr. Irons will be remembered for his compassion, sharp intellect, contagious laugh, and love for his family, friends, colleagues, patients, and Becket/Chimney Corners family.   The love and gratitude we all feel for him cannot be expressed in words.   The legacy of Dr. Russell Irons will live on in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.