Why is my dyslexic child so angry at me?

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Social and Emotional Problems Related to Dyslexia
By: Michael Ryan, M.D. and International Dyslexia Association (2004)

Many of the emotional problems caused by dyslexia occur out of frustration with school or social situations. Social scientists have frequently observed that frustration produces anger. This can be clearly seen in many dyslexics.
The obvious target of the dyslexic’s anger would be schools and teachers. However, it is also common for the dyslexic to vent his anger on his parents. Mothers are particularly likely to feel the dyslexic’s wrath. Often, the child sits on his anger during school to the point of being extremely passive. However, once he is in the safe environment of home, these very powerful feelings erupt and are often directed toward the mother. Ironically, it is the child’s trust of the mother that allows him to vent his anger. However, this becomes very frustrating and confusing to the parent who is desperately trying to help their child.
As youngsters reach adolescence, society expects them to become independent. The tension between the expectation of independence and the child’s learned dependence causes great internal conflicts. The adolescent dyslexic uses his anger to break away from those people on which he feels so dependent.
Because of these factors, it may be difficult for parents to help their teenage dyslexic. Instead, peer tutoring or a concerned young adult may be better able to intervene and help the child.

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24 thoughts on “Why is my dyslexic child so angry at me?

  1. Pingback: Helping your dyslexic child at school and at home | Child Day Care Centers & Pre Schools Rated By Real Parents - FREE

    • The anger is not about you/ If you go imagine it beiong directed at an imaginary Bozo=the-Clown to the left of your shoulder, who rocks up and down and takes the punches. it might help at times depersonalize it. I’m glad you liked thereaderblog; I hope the Irish books helped give you some distraction and pleasure. I’ve got some more Irish coming, and I’ll be checking back with you as well. Keep taking good care of yourself–that’s the ticket. You sound like such a good woman and good mom!

    • Your dyslexic child is venting their frustration in the safest environment in which to do so. The frustration comes from their perceived inadequacy when measuring themselves with the social norms around them. I would tend to assure the child that dyslexia while it may be a bother when trying to express verbally or in a written way is in no way a reflection of inadequacy. Point out the strengths of your child, the unique way they express, the abilities they have cultivated, the fact that you love them just the way they are. Let them know that any negative feedback is simply another person’s way of expressing their lack of understanding. As a child it is a struggle to know that as hard as you try you just do not perform as your classmates do. But it is often those who are different that go on to be great leaders. Your child wants acceptance and unconditional love and the freedom to release those frustrations that are picked up when engaging with other people. Stay strong and know that your child’s expression of anger is a necessary release of emotion and is no way a personal attack on you. Blessings to you Tanya.

    • I’m lucky enough to work with dyslexic children and teens and though, as a teacher, I can feel their feelings of frustration, I can only imagine that what I see is only the tip of the iceberg compared to what goes on at home. From my experience, the dyslexic population, children and adults alike, tend to be self-depreciative, as they seem to associate ease in reading and writing with intelligence. This always breaks my heart as I know how strong these individuals are in other domains, in particular in their vision of 3D. I think that as parents and educators, all we can do is point out what they do well and keep supporting them through their hardships while trying to brush away the daggers we feel when they lash out at us.

  2. We experience this as well. My son has sensory processing disorder and ADD on top of being dyslexic, so he is VERY frustrated by school. And I see his emotions as not being well regulated, so he keeps it all in during the school day and lets it out when he gets home. He’s afraid to get mad at his father, so yes, it’s me, his mother that gets the most of it. However, I also have my boundaries and have let him know very clearly that he can get angry, but he can not treat me badly. We both get a lot of “time outs” to cool off and get past an angry outburts. I think it’s so important to teach our children to honor their emotions, but to also teach them ways to process them in a healthy and acceptable way.

    • I agree with you. It sounds like you have it under control
      I found the book think good feel good a great resource for handling my own kids. I have a shirt review of it in an earlier post.
      Thanks for your comment
      Fiona .

  3. Hello, Fiona! Thank you for liking my blog post! I feel moved to share with you that I had innumerable problems with my son behavior-wise, and he seemed to focus on me to be his target for his frustrations. A wise woman told me, “It’s always those the child is closest to that will take brunt. He knows you won’t leave him, and will always love him. It’s the deepest trust you’re seeing from him.” Hard to remember in the tough moments, but I do hope it will give you some support and perhaps some consolation.

  4. Pingback: Dyslexia /Open Dyslexia Font for Free | thoughtsanddiscoveries

  5. “Ironically, it is the child’s trust of the mother that allows him to vent his anger.”

    Yup! It’s very similar to picking a kid up from a perfect day at school only for them to have a tantrum. Great post.

  6. I wish all this information was available when I was a child. It wasn’t until I started teaching that I realized that I was dyslexic. Now I write stories for young children, but still remember the times when I was asked to read aloud or spell a word in elementary school. Somehow, I survived. It’s nice to know that there is help out there for others who find reading difficult. Thanks, Beryl

  7. Pingback: Why is my dyslexic child so angry at me? | arla's overalls

  8. Thank you for your encouraging “like” in my post. I am unable to comment on this article sorry as no experience with dyslexia; but my heart goes out to all who are caring for anyone with it.
    In reading this, it seems that the more you love someone afflicted with this, the more you leave yourself open for being the outlet to their ‘pain’. May the Lord comfort all who are ‘caring’ for someone they deeply love.

  9. Wonderful post. I’m following you now, can you follow me as we’ll? I’m fairly new and I’m trying to build my readership. Thank you and I look forward to reading future posts by you!

  10. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that my dyslexic child is frustrated and angry. She has a really hard time at school. We live in Germany (as expats) so German isn’t even her first language.

    She works hard in a tough school system where she is constantly tested but doesn’t get any extra time or compensation in these tests. On top of that she’s supposed to be able to read, write and spell in three languages and if she fails in one, she will have to resit the year.

    It’s not just that she spells incorrectly, she also reads incorrectly especially when under stress and when she’s writing she often forgets to write in words or sometimes even whole sntences.

    Last year the teachers tried to help her by giving her extra oral exams to bring her grades up but this year they’ve stopped that.

    As a parent, I often feel at a loss as how to help her.

  11. Hey Fiona, have you tried getting a punching bag? I mean there has to be an outlet for all that frustration right? And they say that physical exercise releases feel good hormones, so why not get a punching bag you could put up somewhere as a healthy outlet? Just a thought. BTW…thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my poem.

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