The rebellious attitude in your teenagers may often manifest as anger. Hence, you need to know about anger management in teens to help them navigate their feelings. According to Lauren Allerhand, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, anger is an important part of our emotional lives and shouldn’t be taken as a bad thing (1). However, if your child exhibits drastic mood swings or extreme anger for no apparent reason, it may be a sign of an underlying mental health condition (2).
Allerhand further says that parents should work towards helping their children channel their anger into productive activity and express it in a less harmful way (1).
Read this post as we tell you more about anger management in teens, including the causes and signs of anger in teenagers.
Causes Of Teenage Anger
Teenage years are marked by different physical, hormonal, and emotional changes. Hormonal changes during adolescence can feed into the mood swings experienced by most teenagers. Moreover, the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for controlling impulses, is still developing and does not develop fully until 25 to 26 years of age.
Besides, other factors may also contribute to teenage anger. These include (3)
- The feeling of being misunderstood
- Mental health problems, such as depression
- Substance abuse
- Conduct disorder or antisocial behavior
Signs Of Anger Issues In A Teenager
From fist and jaw clenching to engaging in dangerous activities, teenage anger can manifest in various forms. The following are some warning signs of anger you should watch out for in a teenager (4) (5).
- Indulging in malicious gossips
- Verbal aggression with foul language
- Physical violence
- Addiction or substance abuse
- Hurtful speech
- Indulging in risky behavior, such as bullying
- Social isolation
- An urge to experiment with weapons
When anger gets out of control, it can also manifest in the form of (5)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Stomach ache or headache
- Muscle tension
Anger Management Techniques And Tips For Teens
- Do not force control: Controlling an angry teenager like a young child can make them feel like they are being unheard or not paid attention to. Let them express their opinions and decisions without fear. However, ensure that they understand the boundaries and rules.
- Talk in a mature manner: If you talk with your teenage son or daughter in an authoritative tone, it may only make them more resistant. However, talking to teens in a mature way, especially while explaining the rules and boundaries, can make them respond and act maturely like adults.
- Respect your teen’s privacy: Privacy is crucial for teenagers. Give them the space they need by not poking your nose into their matters. This may help them feel safe to open up to you about things troubling them. On the other hand, invading their privacy can cause them to be more secretive and make them lose trust in you.
- Acknowledge their feelings and emotions: It is crucial to have stimulating conversations and understand what your child is going through. Understand their problems and overwhelming emotions and help them overcome them rather than trivializing them and dismissing them as typical teen behavior.
- Do not be overly critical of them: A healthy criticism is necessary to let them know about their mistakes. However, being overly critical and micromanaging can make them question their worth and revolt even more. This is where you need to draw the line and know when to set consequences and when to be lenient.
- Know when to step away: Yelling or verbal attacks will only aggravate the situation. When your teen seems to be getting out of control, step away after giving them gentle and mature advice. This will give them the space they need to cool down.
- Spend quality time: Spending some quality time as a family can be a great way to bond with your teenager. They may not like to play the games they used to as a child, so know their interests and try some activities related to those. For example, you can watch a movie, go for lunch or dinner, or go on a trip together. Such bonding activities may deepen your connection with each other and help you understand their feelings better.
- Seek help: While anger is normal, sudden or frequent angry outbursts and violent behavior require a professional approach. In such situations, seek the help of a child mental health professional and encourage your child to undergo therapy to help cope with their anger.
- Take a break: Acting out of impulse in a fit of anger is natural but can lead to grave consequences. Hence, as difficult as it may be, teach them to take a break when they sense their rising temper. Identifying the root of their anger and assessing its impact on the other person may help them calm down.
- Develop coping skills: Teens with anger issues can try these simple relaxation techniques to control their temper.
- Listening to music
- Meditating or taking deep breaths
- Working out
- Drawing or painting
- Counting to 20 before blurting out
- Walk it off: When they feel anger developing in them, it is a good idea to walk away from the crowd and take a stroll for five to ten minutes. This may help them cool down and reflect on their thoughts.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is anger in boys more common?
It is generally believed that boys show more anger than girls. According to research, boys are more likely to express anger-related emotions than girls (7). Another study highlighted that though boys are reported to be more physically aggressive than girls, there are no gender differences in relational aggression (8).
2. When should I worry about my teenage anger?
If your teen acts physically aggressive towards you or others or abuses verbally, their anger can harm their overall well-being. Being consistently aggressive or violent that isn’t always related to the stimulus could be some red flags of anger issues in teens (9).
Anger is common in teenagers, and what may be perceived as typical teen behavior may not always be due to mere rebellion or tantrum issues. It is important to understand the various signs of anger your child exhibits to know when to seek help. Irrespective of the reasons, teens with anger issues should be approached with love and understanding and be provided with the right support.
- Teens and anger.
- Managing teen stressors and anger.
- Anger in teens.
- Teen anger: signs symptoms and management.
- Teen anger and aggression- causes and treatment.
- Anger management techniques.
- Tara M. Chaplin and Amelia Aldao; (2013); Gender Differences in Emotion Expression in Children: A Meta-Analytic Review.
- Jennifer E. Lansford et al.; (2012); Boys’ and Girls’ Relational and Physical Aggression in Nine Countries.
- Teens and Anger.