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12 Compassionate Phrases to Calm An Angry Child

Ever have a bad day? Do you ever feel, well, not quite right, and like your fuse is a little shorter than usual? How about when things don’t go your way; does that frustrate you? Of course, the answer to all of these questions is a big YES. So we have to expect that our children sometimes feel the same way, right? The difference is that most of us are adults. With fully developed brains. Brains that enable us to process challenging situations.

In most cases, the human brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. Because the brain is responsible for controlling emotional responses, we can’t expect a child to be physiologically capable of calming themselves down when they are angry. It’s our job to help! And these twelve phrases will help you, help them.

Try one of these phrases when helping angry kids find their calm.
Try one of these phrases when helping angry kids find their calm.

1. It’s okay to feel this way.

Validate your child’s feelings, no matter what those feelings may be. Though an outburst may seem unreasonable to you, it isn’t unreasonable to your child. Help them to understand that no feeling is ever “wrong,” and they are allowed to express their feelings in a manner that is comfortable for them, as long as no one gets hurt in the process.

2. I’m here if you need me.

Sometimes a kid needs help processing a situation. Sometimes they don’t. There is nothing wrong with either response, as long as the situation is resolved in a productive manner. The “if” in this phrase allows your child the freedom to choose, while still letting them know that you’re always available.

3. Let’s talk about this.

Simply talking a situation out in a calm and clear manner can help your child to process their feelings. It can be beneficial to start by modeling how to talk through situations. Just make sure to allow space for your child to express their feelings in their own words.

4. How can we solve this problem together?

Help your child understand that the two of you are in this together, and that you aren’t giving up until the problem is solved. Allow them to throw out suggestions and then talk through the resolutions together. If needed, float a few ideas of your own, allowing choices around which ones might work best.

5. Take a little time, either alone or with me.

You are, again, allowing some choice in how a situation is processed. Kids are allowed to take time to calm down and think about things, and they can do this on their timeline, with or without help.

6. Think of some words to describe how you’re feeling.

Speaking words aloud can take power away from a charged situation. Encouraging your child to name their big feelings can make those feelings seem, well, smaller… and a little less daunting. If they need help, prompt them with language like “scary,” “frustrating,” “annoyed” or “unsettled.”

7. Listen to your body right now.

Help your child identify some of the physical markers associated with being angry. Are they hot? Is their body shaking? Are they breathing heavily? Guide your child in recognizing how their body is responding, the messages their body is trying to send them, and how to respond to those messages in a healthy way.

8. I understand why you feel this way.

A little empathy goes a long way. Your child doesn’t always need a solution from you, they just need to know that you understand. It’s helpful to feel like your emotions have company.

9. You are safe.

Feeling angry can sometimes be scary. Your child’s body and mind may feel out of control, and it may seem like the feelings are permanent. Let them know they are physically, and emotionally, safe until their body and brain is able to regulate.

10. How can I help?

Ask the question and listen to the response. Your child might need space. They may need a hug. They may need help searching for their lost book. Allow them to recognize how they need help, encourage them to verbalize it, and honor the request.

11. We will get through this.

These uncomfortable feelings won’t last forever. And you will be right there to support your child as they work through them.

12. I love you.

Unconditionally. Completely. Wholly. No matter what.

Having the language to talk to your child about their anger is a great first step in helping them transform their relationship with it. Ready to take another step? Check out GoCharge!, the amazing anger transformation program from GoZen!

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