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Anger - being the boss of your anger

emotion; controlling anger; assertive; feeling; angry; frustration; aggression ;


Being the boss of your anger

Sometimes you just get so angry that you feel like you are going to burst! It may seem like your anger will be the boss of you, instead of you being the boss of your anger.

What to do

What can you do to work through that anger and keep yourself and others safe?

  • sad faceTake a deep breath and breathe out hard.
  • Count to 10 slowly in your mind before you open your mouth. Count another 10 if you are still feeling out of control. Stop and think about what to do or say, then make a good choice.
  • Walk away and go somewhere else until you've thought about what you can do.
  • Use your words to tell your feelings.  Never hurt someone with your hands, feet or by what you say.
    angry faces
  • Say what you feel in a firm voice, not a loud shouting voice eg "I feel angry/sad/upset because..."

Sometimes you need to do something to get those angry feelings out.

Some ways of getting out the anger.

  • Squeeze a pillow, a ball or your jumper really hard and say to yourself that you are squeezing out your anger.
  • Try taking some deep breaths until you feel your heart slow back down again.
  • Go for a fast walk or run somewhere safe until you feel calmer.
    hurting another person in anger
      Not a good idea!

Sometimes anger can be useful.

  • exercising the dogUse your anger to do a chore that you really hate, e.g. cleaning up your bedroom, sweeping, mowing or cleaning up the shed. You get rid of your anger and can feel good about getting that chore done too.
  • Listen to some music and dance really hard.
  • Listen to some soothing music, lie on the floor and do some relaxation exercises. What music helps you feel calm?
  • Talk to someone you trust about how you feel.  

When you're feeling calmer

  • Think - is this your problem or someone else's? If it's theirs, tell them so in a quiet voice and walk away. Or, if something you are doing is a problem for someone else, see if you can work out a solution. 
    If it's your problem then you need to deal with it.
  • Is this a minor drama or a major drama?
    Minor drama. If it's really not worth worrying about, then forget it.
    Major drama. If it's a really big problem ask yourself some questions.
    • Can you deal with it yourself?
    • Do you need some help looking for ways to deal with the problem?

After you have thought about these things, work out what you are going to do to sort things out with the person or situation that started your angry feelings.

Keeping yourself safe from other people's anger

If you live with someone who gets very angry, you can often recognise when they're getting angry.

The best way to avoid their anger being turned on you is by not being there.

  • Get out of their way.
  • Stay calm.
  • Don't talk.
  • Don't get angry yourself.
  • Don't shout.
  • Tell a trusted adult if you feel unsafe.

keeping safe

See our topics on Keeping yourself safe from child abuse and Family conflict - when families fight for more ideas.

A Avoid.
Don't let your anger or the anger of others control you.
N Never
use your body or your voice to hurt others.
G Get away
so that you manage your anger safely.
E Evaluate.
Think about your choices, and then make a choice, which keeps you and others safe.
R Responsible.
You are responsible for your feelings. No-one can make you angry, you allow yourself to become angry.

What works for you?

These are ways in which some kids control their anger.

  • "I go to my room and scream in the pillow".
  • "I go away by myself to think".
  • "When I get angry I run outside and kick the football or I go in my room and do wrestling moves with my toy monkey".
  • "I am very mad
    I feel very bad
    My face is red
    I might go to bed."
  • "When I am angry I lie on my bed and listen to my radio or have a sleep".
  • "I go for a real fast bike-ride or I ride on my roller blades".
  • "I practice throwing and catching a ball."

Dr Kim says

Dr KimAnger can be a useful emotion. People get angry about injustice and this has led to lots of good things happening in the world. If you can get rid of angry feelings without hurting yourself or others, then you can learn to use your anger and not let it use you.

If you often have angry feelings, talk with a trusted adult about what is making you feel this way. If you would rather talk to someone you can trust but who doesn't know you, call the Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800. It's a free call. Or you can go to their website 


I feel so angry
I want to scream and shout
I want to punch and kick
And throw myself about
I want to run and run
Until my anger's out
But, I'm going to stay here
Maybe sulk a bit and pout
Count to ten, then slowly
Breathe the anger out.

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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