If your teen tends to exhibit anger, you might have a hard time managing their behavior. Typically, teens who are angry destroy property, yell, rebel, are dismissive of others, and sometimes violate the rights of others. If your teen is in this category, you may want to know a few things about teen anger before you attempt to address it in your child.
Here are a few things to know about teen anger:
- Anger is a normal feeling. It is a natural emotion that needs to be expressed.
- Anger is an energy (an emotion or energy in motion) that needs to be expressed.
- There are some healthy and not-so-healthy ways of expressing anger. As a caregiver, you can work with your teen by showing them healthy ways to exhibit their anger, such as exercise, journaling, or talking with a therapist.
- If your teen is directing anger at themselves (common among females), this is not healthy and can contribute to mental illness. Teen anger turned inward can lead to self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
- Your teen will feel better when they’ve expressed anger.
- Running from anger isn’t healthy. If your teen is burying their anger with drugs or alcohol, it will only come back stronger. Turning away from or repressing anger in any way will make it worse.
- Your teen may need to learn how to express anger when alone as well as with others.
- Some people might react to anger (it is often socially unacceptable). However, your teen will have to learn to express anger in a healthy way nonetheless. And yes, your teen may have to express their anger in public, when needed.
- You can support your teen with their anger by modeling how to manage it. Be mindful of how you’re responding to life’s demands.
- When a teen learns to express anger in a healthy way on a regular basis, they will likely experience a rise in their energy level and mood.
It’s important to keep these points in mind when you’re preparing to help your teen. Also, teens who struggle with anger management issues often simply lack the tools to appropriately express their anger. You might create a plan to help your teen with their anger management.
Healthy Ways to Deal With Teen Anger
Certainly, you’re going to need a few suggestions to share with your teen on expressing anger in a healthy way. Here are a few to consider:
- Take a few long and deep breaths.
- Talk with a friend or therapist about the anger.
- Journal through the anger.
- Make a list of people you’re angry at. This isn’t done to create a list of revenge. But instead to be clear about how and why you’re angry. Think back as far as you can go. Doing so can help get to the root cause of anger, which sometimes was one incident many years ago.
- Write a letter to the person you’re angry at. If you want it to be really therapeutic, use your non-dominant hand. Be as angry as you like. Write out anything and everything that upsets you about this person and their actions.
- Scream in your bedroom, or when you’re alone.
- Twist a towel.
- Beat a drum.
- Punch a pillow.
- Go outdoors.
Without healthy ways of effectively managing the power behind teen anger, it can quickly escalate to aggression and even dangerous behavior. In fact, the result of your teen’s inability to control anger can lead to damaging their relationships at home, school, and work. In extreme cases, failing to appropriately manage anger can lead to domestic violence, physical fights, legal consequences, and workplace violence.
Another vital tool to teach your teen when it comes to anger management is emotional awareness. This is the ability to know what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it. To assist your teen in doing this, you might encourage them to take breaks to be alone, use relaxation techniques, and communicate how they feel with someone they trust before letting anger influence their behavior.
Some of the skills mentioned can be hard to do. However, you can encourage your teen to build their emotional awareness by modeling it and by acknowledging when you’re angry. Acknowledging anger can give a person one or two seconds to decide what to do with it. If your tendency is to shove it inward, perhaps this time you can express it in an appropriate way. If your tendency is to yell and shout, perhaps this time you can channel it by being assertive rather than aggressive. By making healthy choices yourself, you can support your teen to do the same.