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Measuring children’s anger is a very complex process that cannot just rely on the theoretical explanations that exist in the literature. It requires laboratory-based observational research that would involve physical monitoring of the actions of children when they are annoyed.
It is because of this fact that the researcher engaged in a gamming experiment to help measure the children’s anger and their possible reactions. The game was designed to make the participants lose unfairly in order to make them angry. To validate their anger, a gift was introduced for those who would win the game. It was established that different children react differently when annoyed based on various social factors.
Reasons Why the Study Was Done
The article by Hubbard (2014) focused on measuring the children’s anger and how it can be controlled in order to protect them and the people around them. According to this scholar, recent researches have focused on the impact of children’s anger on their social development. However, research about how to measure the children’s anger and how it can be managed is still scanty.
This laboratory-based observational research was specifically done in order to identify the factors that trigger anger in children, how these children would react when angered, and how their reactions can be controlled to avoid any aggression that may harm them or people around them. Conducting this research in a laboratory setting was seen as the best strategy that would enable the researcher to come up with empirical data based on a laboratory study.
This way, it will be possible to come up with a practical solution that can be used to address the problem of anger among the children. The study was also conducted to support some of the existing theories about anger management and emotional development among children.
The Related Work in the Field
Researchers have conducted studies about emotional competence and emotional development among children. According to the related works in this field that were reviewed, it is clear that numerous negative factors correlate linked to the emotional instability and anger among the children. Issues such as peer rejection and peer victimization are likely to make a child develop reactive aggression. This is a condition where any form of provocation from peers would result in serious violent reactions from the child.
They do this as a form of defense to counter the rejection and victimization. Social skills deficit and anxiety are also other negative factors that may lead to reactive aggression. These children would try to compensate for their deficit in social skills with reactive aggression in order to avoid victimization. A hostile environment where children grow up may also affect their ability to manage anger. They grow up knowing that the only way of addressing issues is to be hostile to people considered the source of the problem.
The Actual Experiment
In this experiment, Hubbard (2014) conducted laboratory-based observational research on a number of children. The experiment was designed in the form of a game where the children who were participating played the role of astronauts who had to go to space and bring back the moon. The game was designed to ensure that a given level of anger was aroused among the participants.
To do this, the participants were promised gifts if they succeeded in the game. The researcher developed a strategy to ensure that the participants were unfairly rigged out so that they lose the game. The rigging was done in a way that the participants would obviously realize that they were unfairly denied the opportunity to win the game. This was meant to make them angry so that their reaction would be measured, and intervention strategies developed.
According to Hubbard (2014), it is apparent that anger among the children may be triggered by a number of environmental factors. Children may be angered when their peers do what hurts them emotionally. This may be verbal abuse, a mockery, or any act that they consider disgusting based on their social backgrounds.
Other children are agitated when they are physically harmed, while others get seriously agitated when their expectations are not met. The research results indicate that the level of aggression when a child is angered depends on a number of factors.
It is apparent that some children act violently when they get agitated. They express their anger by physically fighting the individuals who they believe are the source of their anguish. Others would react by crying, especially when they believe that there is little they can do about their situation because they feel physically weak. Another group would be withdrawn and develop negative attitudes towards the individuals they believe to be the source of their sufferings.
Some children would have mixed reactions. The possible reaction of a child, when angered largely, depends on the background where the child was brought up. A child that sees parents or members of the society address their differences through physical fights is more likely to be physically violent when angered than a child who sees problems solved through dialogue.
The types of films that children watch are also more likely to define their possible way of reaction. In order to manage the children’s actions when annoyed, the research revealed that it is important to appeal to their emotions and trivialize the factor that is causing anger.
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Why it is Important
This research was important in enhancing the existing bodies of knowledge about anger management among children. The available researches are based on cognitive theories of development but are not backed by empirical research. This study was meant to provide a platform where the researcher would investigate the factors that may agitate a child and some of their possible reactions.
Through this study, the researcher was able to come up with the practical explanations of factors that would cause anger among children. It was also practically established how different children would act differently when they are agitated. The research also came up with possible practical solutions that adults may use when faced with such challenges.
The study conducted to help in measuring the children’s anger was important in developing ways of managing the children’s behavior. The study shows that the behavioral pattern of a child when provoked, depends on a number of factors. Children who feel that they are rejected or victimized by their peers are more likely to react violently than those who feel loved by the members of the society. Depression and social skills deficit are other factors that may cause elicit negative reactions among the children.
While a section of children would prefer violent reactions as the best form of countering any form of aggression or provocation from the peers, others would consider withdrawal as the best way of addressing the problem. Children who feel valued and accepted by their peers would seek amicable ways of addressing the problem because of the desire to protect their friendship.
Hubbard, J. A. (2014). Interactions: Ethical Considerations and Practical Guidelines. Department of Psychology University of Delaware, 248(1), 1-11.