Iedereen, groot en klein, mens en dier, wordt wel eens boos. Wanneer we ons bedreigd voelen, kiezen we tussen drie gedragingen: vechten, vluchten of bevriezen. Boosheid is ons gevoel bij een vecht-reactie.
All kids — like all humans — get angry. When we feel threatened, we move into fight, flight or freeze. Anger is the body’s “fight” response.
But humans don’t only get angry in response to outside threats. We also get angry in response to our own feelings. So when our own fear, hurt, disappointment, pain or grief is too upsetting, we tend to lash out to keep ourselves from feeling pain. We mobilize against the perceived threat (even our own upsets) by attacking.
That’s true for kids as well, of course. And because kids don’t have a fully developed frontal cortex to help them self-regulate, they’re even more prone to lashing out when they’re angry.
Sometimes attacking makes sense, but only when there’s actually a threat. That’s rare. Most of the time when kids get angry, they want to attack their little brother (who broke their treasured memento), their parents (who disciplined them “unfairly”), their teacher (who embarrassed them) or the playground bully (who scared them.)
When kids live in a home where anger is handled in a healthy way, they generally learn to manage their anger constructively. That means: