Teens display all sorts of emotions during adolescence, and sometimes those emotions persist. Teens may experience sadness, shame, or low self esteem, while other teens may be consistently angry. If you’re a parent or caregiver and you want to help your teen, this article may be able to provide some suggestions on how to best manage adolescent anger.
If a teen is angry, he or she might have behavioral explosions, mood swings, and perhaps an inability to meet the demands of life. There are other possible diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, learning difficulties, sleep disturbances, stress, or medical issues. A teen might have depression, for example, especially if he or she does not have the skills for managing unbearable sadness. As a result, they might appear angry instead. Their anger might also be a symptom of an unrecognized medical concern or a teen’s inability to manage stress. There are many reasons behind chronic anger in a teen, and the best form of support would be to get professional help through a therapist or psychologist.
However, you may want to know how to best manage your teen’s anger at home. Here are some effective ways to manage anger:
- Teach your teen effective coping skills
- Develop control over angry responses
- Establish rules and consequences for destructive or aggressive behavior
- Increase frustration tolerance
- Improve problem-solving strategies
- Replace aggressive behavior with assertive behavior
- Try to talk with your teen about what’s underneath the anger. Sometimes it may be sadness, disappointment, or abandonment.
- Learn warning signs and triggers of anger and discuss them with your teen.
- Encourage your teen to relieve anger in healthy ways such as such as exercising when angry instead of taking it out on someone
- When needed, give your teen space and time to calm down and then discuss unhealthy situations later.
- Parents and caregivers – learn to manage your own anger in a healthy way and serve as a model for your teen.
Depending upon the temperament of your teen and the cause of his or her anger, some of the above techniques may not work. Managing your teen’s anger may be a trial and error process in the beginning. Also, keep in mind that your teen’s gender will have an effect on how your teen expresses anger. For instance, male and female adolescents can express anger differently and have different responses to this intense emotion. Of course, this isn’t true for all teens, but society can teach males to express their anger outwardly while females learn to keep anger to themselves, expressing it only when it feels safe to do so.
Because of the differences in these experiences, it’s possible that males might be more aggressive, rebellious, and oppositional – particularly during their teen years. However, there are risks and dangers that can come with expressing anger or opposition at the wrong time and in the wrong places. In fact, the result of one’s inability to control anger can lead to damaging one’s relationships at home, school, and work. In extreme cases, failing to appropriately manage anger can lead to domestic violence and child abuse, workplace violence, and divorce.
Managing your teen’s anger now during their adolescence may prevent problems in their future. If you need support with working with your teen’s anger be sure to contact a mental health professional for help.