How can I help my 4 year old express his anger?

Okay…I need some advice, mamas. My ÷4-year-old has hit this phase recently where any time gets upset with us (mostly me) he will tell me he doesn’t like me, love me, want to be a family, etc…it doesn’t hurt my feelings because I mean, he’s four lol and it’s always over something like he can’t have sweets, tablet, or bedtime (so nothing serious). I usually just respond with, “that’s fine, but you still have to do as I say,” and he’ll drop it after a minute. But I’m just curious, is this something I should be working more to put a stop to or just let him keep expressing his feelings? I just figured he doesn’t know how else to express his anger, but I also don’t want to let it continue if it could turn into a bigger issue later on. Aside from these little tantrums, he’s a super sweet, loving and affectionate kid.


All my kids have said that at one point or another. We responded the same way and all have stopped doing it. It’s just a phase. The less I respond when they say things like that the better. Sometimes if you give a big reaction they keep doing it.

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We found putting names to feelings “mad” “angry” “tired” etc and explaining it’s okay to feel these ways and explain why things are happening in a calm way has largely helped my 3 year old son deal with his feelings

My children are in their 40s, they also told me that for a couple of years. I would respond that’s ok that I love them, when they got a little older I would explain that it’s not nice and hurts my feelings. They stopped :purple_heart:

Just tell him that you love him

I just say I love you too. And distract lol

But this is where that trying to control and manipulate you stage comes in .

Let him express his anger and then when he calms down gently tell him that while it’s ok to be angry/mad/upset about the words he uses while his upset can hurt other peoples feelings. He’ll grow out of it soon enough and he’ll have an understanding that words can hurt just as much as his physical actions

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Might be a good time to explain that his words hurt your feelings and that even when you say something you don’t mean when you are angry, it still hurts someone’s feelings. Words have consequences, and we can’t take them back. Tell him you love him but you dont like it when he is being ugly to you. Or ask him how he would feel if you said it to him.

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Get down to his level (physically on your knees) tell him you know he’s upset that he has to (whatever you’ve asked him to do or can’t have) but this is why we have to do (whatever it is) remind him that you love him and will always be his mommy and then do said task or whatever had upset him

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How do you deal when you’re upset or angry? Just let him have it out and do what you’re doing. You’re his mama and you know him best

Just tell him words hurt, but overall stick to what you’re doing. Eventually he’ll realize and stop. Its just their way of trying to get what they want.
Anger is a big emotion. He’ll grow into it.

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As adults we are allowed to be upset and have bad days when things aren’t just. My children throw temper tantrums especially when they lack the communication skills and I usually say “it’s okay to be (whatever emotion they seem to be feeling) but it’s not okay to (whatever action they are doing)”. We redirect them to take a minute and then calmly talk about why that certain thing couldn’t happen.

I always use to say. I am sorry you feel like that but I still love you anyway.

I think I would work on “it’s okay to be angry or upset when things don’t go the way you expect, but we’re always going to be family and I’m always going to love you no matter what happens.” Model the behavior and expectations that you would want to see him display as he gets older and learns to regulate his emotions.


I always just said thats ok your feeling this way but I still love you…he would get mad from me saying that but he eventually stopped saying those things to me. Now he does the your mean and I just say no your being mean because your not listening to me and if you want to be mean you can go to your room. Which he does and 5 mins later he comes out and hugs me and says he loves me and all is well again lol. I think they all go through this phase.

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With my granddaughter I tell he it’s ok to be angry then I make her take big inhale and count up to five. Watch Daniel tigers neighborhood with him. At first I tried to suppress it but realized that’s stuffing feelings and might make it worse. I make her tell me why she is angry too.

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I’ve told my kids that it’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to not like me. BUT, it’s okay as long as they aren’t physically harming anyone. I will always love them, but right now with their behavior I don’t like them either. It always got a sudden quiet, a funny look, and then crying. They didn’t like that mommy didn’t like them. They had to stop and think about it.

Yes, told them that when they got older they will find that others won’t always give them everything they want, but that’s just life. Don’t coddle them because it just encourages bad behavior in the future too.

BTW, my kids are 44, 47 and 50. Not one of them have ever been in trouble with the law and are loving parents that have used the same technique with their kids (who have also never been in trouble with the law!)


After he gets a better vocabulary, he will be able to explain better. That’s why two yr olds tantrum…they don’t have words yet

I have 4 kids aged 10-19. I definitely told them even at 4 that as a family we need to respect one another and words hurt. Actions and consequences are important. This is no way judgy. We are not perfect. I still have a letter from my 19 yr old when he was 6 basically breaking up with me. He said things like we both know this isnt working out lol