Reply To: How to respond to my child’s extreme anger

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#71621
anomalocaris
Participant

Maybe look at Doug Noell’s work. He has some techniques that can be helpful, based on affect labeling. The basics:

Never use I statements (Like, “I understand that you’re angry.”). Instead, just label the emotion. “You’re really angry.” And let them respond to that, and then continue to affect label as the response changes.

Yeah, I’m angry! Because you never care what I think!
So.. you feel disrespected, because you feel I don’t listen to you. (etc.)

Sometimes you get it wrong, and they reject it (I’m not angry! I’m frustrated because I can’t get you to listen to me!). if that happens just try again and eventually you’ll hit the right note.

Never express it as a question. Also, it should not be seen as a conversation. It’s just a technique to deescalate the aggression so that a conversation can take place. If you think of it as a conversation it will feel very awkward.

He uses this method to deescalate conflicts between violent offenders in prisons, and also teaches it to parents with difficult kids. I just mentioned some of the basics to give you an idea of the technique, but I think it would be worth reading some of his material or contacting him. He’s very responsive to contact and questions.