Q My 10-year-old daughter has always had a quick temper and used to have huge tantrums before she started in primary school but it settled a bit. Since the lockdown, though, her anger has been ever-present. It's like we can't look at her without her snapping at us or screaming back in response to whatever we try to say to her. Everything is annoying her. Please help.
David replies: One of the things you might want to consider is that her anger is actually a displacement of other feelings. For example, she might feel more anxious and stressed about missing friends, school (since that appears to have been positive) worried about the future etc, and those feelings are creating a big emotional intensity within her.
Perhaps, because anger is a typical response for her, it is easier, or feels more natural for her to express any complicated and intense feelings by getting angry. The anger might seem like a useful way to vent a mix of intense emotions.
So, to support her, you might want to talk lots about the different stresses and upsets she might feel about being in lockdown. You can guess at what they might be, rather than expecting her to voice them spontaneously.
Creating positive moments to play, connect and laugh with her, outside her tantrums, will also help. When she is calmer you can talk with her. While she is really angry, you may just have to wait out the storm.