When To Worry About Your Angry Child (Ages 6-11)

Blog Post created by teachontarioteam on Jul 23, 2015

angry_6_11.jpgHow do you know when your child's anger has become a problem? TVO and the child mental health experts at the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre have pulled together the following lists of anger and aggression-related behaviours for ages 6-11 to help you decide when a child's anger has become a problem.


Behaviours are divided into three categories below; Typical (not to worry), Monitor (reason to continue monitoring behaviours) and Seek Help (behaviours that may indicate a mental health problem). These are only some of the highlights from theABCs of Mental Health on the Hincks-Dellcrest site. Click here to see the full lists of behaviours and things you can do.




The following signs of anger in a child are normal and not cause for concern. Click here for the full list of  behaviours for your angry child.


  • Breaking the rules, disobedience, angry behaviour or aggression; occurring more often in children at the low-end of this age range (6-12) and less often as they approach their teen years.
  • Yelling, fooling around, rough play, not doing what you are told.
  • Occasional anger and aggression in non-serious episodes.
  • Anger resulting from frustration at not getting one’s way.
  • By age 10 more and more of children’s misbehaviour tends to be aimed at getting the attention of their peers.
  • Starting around age 10, kids can be very interested in justice and rights. It’s here that parents may see flashes of anger from kids as kids grapple with their independence.



Watch for intensity, frequency and duration. It’s in these areas that behaviour can move from being typical to concerning. Click here to see a full list of behaviours for your angry child.

  • Angry outbursts where the child confronts the parent and refuses to behave is not necessarily reason for concern, but if it happens once a month or more, it definitely needs to be tracked and monitored.
  • If a single instance causes the entire family or peer group to be disrupted, or the child himself feels shaken as a result, close monitoring is recommended.
  • The longer an outburst lasts also increases the need for monitoring.
  • For a 6 or 7-year-old, a single angry instance that lasts for some time or even goes into the next day would be outside of the normal range. However, a 12-year-old has a longer attention span, so this would still be inside of the normal range of time. Expressing anger more often at parents at a middle school age is normal.


red_light_67x161_3.jpgSeek Help

The following behaviours are reason for concern. Click here for the full Hincks-Dellcrest list of behaviours for angry kids.

  • Behaviours that are clearly disruptive to daily living and highly disturbing to the parents and to other children.
  • Common anger and aggression.
  • Excessive yelling, angry outbursts, temper tantrums, excessive swearing.
  • Spiteful or vindictive behaviour.
  • Drawing or writing with aggressive themes.
  • Throwing things, damaging property.
  • Threatening or intimidating others (including persistent bullying).
  • Physical assault, including hitting, kicking or biting other children or even adults.
  • Fighting, perhaps with a weapon.
  • Fire setting. Cruelty to animals or smaller children.
  • The child lacks empathy and is a constant disruptive force.
  • Ages 10-12 is the beginning of the most common stage for the onset of serious behaviour and mental health problems. Misbehaviour of this degree is rarely seen in kids under age 10.
  • Parents may feel concern for their safety or the safety of other children.


Need Help? What To Do:


When children in this age group exhibit worrisome behaviours, parents need to seek professional help. In the meantime, parents need to control the misbehaviour as much as possible. This level of misbehaviour isn’t going to be eliminated but parents might be able to keep some control until counselling can begin. A written management plan will be essential. Other things parents can do:

  • Document your observations of the child, the exact nature of the behaviour, when and where the incidents occur, who was present and what strategies have been tried.
  • Count how often these behaviours occur and make a note.
  • Determine how good behaviour might be rewarded for this child. (e.g. stickers or computer time)
  • Think about negative consequences or punishments. (e.g. loss of privileges)
  • Formulate a plan, involve the child in your plan and stick to it.
  • Accentuate the positive in your child. Build positive reinforcement into your plan as much as possible.

Find more recommendations for your angry child in the ABC's of Mental Health section of the Hincks-Dellcrest website.