Am I really Angry?

Written by Kristin Tallackson, M.A.

Anger. Every one feels it, right? Anger can come in small or little doses. We get angry that our plans aren’t turning out the way we had hoped for.  Angry that our kids aren’t listening to what we ask them to do. Angry that the ketchup exploded in the refrigerator. But, is anger really what you’re feeling? According to Robert Pluchick, you’re not. Anger is not a primary emotion. You may be asking, what does that mean? It means that even though we believe what we are feeling is anger, we’re not. Think of anger as a mask, because that’s what it does. It masks our primary emotions of ecstasy, admiration, terror, amazement, grief, loathing, rage, and vigilance.

Learning how to correctly define and express anger can help your child become a differentiated individual. Here are a few simple and effective ways to help your child with your anger:

·      Name the emotion: Help your child identify what emotion they are feeling. They may be hurt that their friend left to go home and expressed their hurt as anger.

·      Take ten: create a healthy habit of waiting ten seconds before expressing anger

·      Find their calm: Help your child identify ways they can cool down. If they have trouble coming up with ideas, give them some clues such as: taking deep breaths, going for a walk, coloring, or journaling.

·      Choose an outlet: If your child does not feel that they can express other emotions but only anger, help them find outlets where they can express their anger in a safe place. For example, talking with a friend, drawing, hitting a punching bag, or playing outside.

·      Start over:  After your child has expressed their anger, talk with them about what they can do next time- reminding them of all the previous steps. Then say, “okay, we’ll push the reset button”.

Angry outburst can be hard to handle, especially when we do not feel fully equipped to handle it. Using these tips can help your child learn and manage their emotions.

Written by: Kristin Tallackson, M.A.

Kristin is a counselor at Heights Family Counseling and is licensed in two states. Kristin's counseling approach is to offer a safe place for you to process and work through a multitude of circumstances, while offering valuable insight and perspective into whatever journey you may find yourself. Her philosophy is to embrace you where you are, equip you with tools, coping mechanisms and knowledge, and empower you to take those tools and lead a fulfilling life. Read more about Kristin at