Interview with Dr Hazel Harrison - Managing emotions of anger and frustration.

This week's blog is looking at child anger and frustration. Now, we all get angry, we all get frustrated, this is completely normal, but sometimes it's the physical response that is demonstrated that can be challenging and at time a little scary and that's where this blog fits.


As a parent or teacher, maybe you've experienced and witnessed a child showing anger and frustration behaviours that have been upsetting, challenging, frightening and worrying, not just for you personally, but for the child themselves and others around them. We certainly witnessed this in our own classrooms during our teaching days.


It can be difficult to decide what to do and say, so with this blog, as well as Gemma's teaching and parenting expertise, she caught up with Dr Hazel Harrison, a clinical psychologist, to get her take on the situation too. With a mix of video chit chat and wise words, there should be something for everyone!


Managing Anger and Frustration in a Pandemic

When Hazel and I kicked off our conversation we talked about the current situation and the affect this was having on younger children. It's easy to understand why younger children in particular have found the past few months so challenging.


What causes anger in a child?

There are many things that cause anger and frustration in children. Just think about all the things that get us in this high end emotional state. Money, other people, family, the news, work the list goes on and on and for children it is exactly the same.


Sometimes when faced with anger and frustration in children, we try and look for causes, when actually this isn't that helpful in the moment. We can also be quick to assume which lead to added anger and frustration at the point the child feel misunderstood.


Dr Hazel Harrison mentions more here:

After chatting with Hazel, she tagged me in on social media to this image. I thought it was an absolutely brilliant way to sum up our discussion and gives a really good foundation for children to use, but also as a reminder to adults too.


Credit to Whole Hearted who posted the image on LinkedIN.


Why do children get frustrated?

Looking at the reasons behind frustration can help us make sense of what is going on for a child. However, it's always good to look at this 'after' the moment.

Hazel talks about how challenge can often lead to frustration within children.


How can we help children manage their anger?

Anger is an emotion and an energy that runs through our body at any given time. The area to consider is the 'physical response' and how a child behaves during this emotion. Allowing children to express their feeling is crucial in their emotional development, but equally there also must be an understanding of what behaviour is and isn't acceptable when emotions run high.

Another thing to consider is not to find out 'WHY' in the moment of emotion. I often made this mistake as a teacher, trying to get to the bottom of a situation, trying to make sense of what was going on, firing questions like bullets to alleviate and calm the distressed child. What I have learned over time is that this is quite possibly the worst tactic to take, even thought the intentions are well meant, it can often add fuel to the fire and create a higher feeling of overwhelm for the child. As Hazel suggests, accept the emotion and save the debrief until later.


How do you calm a frustrated child?

There are many hints and tips that have been given throughout this blog, but here Hazel gives a few more super pointers.

We're here to help

A lot of the work we do at Grow Your Mindset, with children is all about the management and understanding of emotions, such as anger, frustration, sadness etc and hopefully some of the hints and tips here will help you either at home or in your classrooms.


If you need further support Liz and I both provide 1:1 Mindset Motivation sessions and our whole class Mindset Motivation programme, which instils resilience, calm and strategies to manage those big emotions that EVERYONE has. We deliver either of these services face to face or over Zoom, which means it doesn't matter where you are based - we can help!!


Our Mindset Motivation programmes have helped hundreds of children all across the UK leaving teachers and parents thrilled and children feeling much better about themselves and how they learn.


Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more!


If you love a good read, why don't you check out our other blogs about mindsets.


If you would like to know more about Grow Your Mindset click here.



Much Love



Gemma x

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