#37 Physically restrain the child
Advanced, ages 2-16
When children are in an out-of-control rage, gently but firmly hold them to prevent them from harming themselves or others. Use just enough force to restrain them safely. Speak in a reassuring, calm voice. Release them as soon as the aggressive behavior ceases. Restraint can be very frustrating for children. You may have to back off for a moment if a child seems to become more enraged at being restrained. Stay close to the child (see tool #12, Move Physically Closer) to see if the harmful behavior stops.

A 4-year-old lashes out, screaming and kicking in a violent outburst of temper. Mother approaches him from behind, folds his arms across his chest, and holds his wrists in both of her hands until he calms down. During the restraint she calmly tells him, I am holding you because I will not let you hurt yourself or one of the other kids. I will let you go when you calm down.

Restrain older children only if you have the strength to both stop the aggression and protect yourself and the child. If you have to use this tool more than rarely with any age child, professional help is needed. Children who frequently become destructive when angry need professional support and counseling.

Next: Tool 38