Most parents worry because their children struggle to control aggression in adolescence. During teenage, children go through numerous physical, social, and emotional changes (1). These sudden changes create uncertainty and confusion in their young minds. As a result, they reevaluate their purpose and role in the family and society. If they do not find satisfactory answers, these feelings may transform into aggression.
Moreover, sometimes, children experience trauma, peer pressure, or low self-esteem, increasing their anxiety. Therefore, parents need to observe their adolescent children and support them through counseling, medication, therapy, and other techniques.
Read this post to understand the causes of aggression in adolescents and how to help them channel their emotions properly.
8 Causes For Aggression In Adolescence
Over the years, experts have done a lot of research on aggression in adolescence and they have been able to identify several factors. Some of these factors are as follows:
1. Traumatic Event:
Death or illness of a loved one, divorce or extreme sibling and peer harassment is very stressful and can lead to aggression in teenagers (2). Even ongoing fights and discord in the family, especially among parents, can cause such a behavior.
Physical or sexual abuse is another reason for aggressive behavior among teenagers (3).
- This abuse makes them feel angry, inadequate and ashamed.
- Because they are unable to tell anyone about the abuse, it manifests in the form of aggression.
3. Psychiatric Disorders:
Some teenagers may suffer from psychiatric disorders, such as:
All these disorders cause aggressive behavior.
4. Medical Disorders:
In several cases medical issues erupts the aggressive side in teenagers, as well.
- Brain damage, epilepsy, mental retardation and Tourette’s syndrome are some of the other causes of disruptive and aggressive behavior among teenagers (9).
- With proper medical examination and diagnosis, these medical disorders can be treated and the aggression can be brought under control.
5. ADHD and Learning Disorders:
6. Addiction and Abuse:
Many teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol (11). However, when they become addicted or start abusing alcohol and drugs regularly, it can lead to aggressive behavior.
7. Peer Pressure:
Teenagers yearn to be accepted and become part of a group. If this does not happen, it can cause pain and anger, leading to aggressive behavior.
8. Low Self-Esteem:
Some adolescents have low self-esteem and they try to cover this up through aggression. This is especially true when they are among their peers.
6Â Solutions To Teenage Aggression
As a parent or caregiver, you have several options to manage and control adolescence aggression. Some of these are as follows:
Take your teenager for individual counseling (12).
- Talking to a trained and licensed professional is recommended.
- This can make your adolescent take responsibility for their behavior and also resolve problems with their relationships.
2. Family Counseling:
It could be a good idea to involve the whole family in counseling.
- Talking to one another and being guided by professional and trained therapists can be extremely helpful.
- This can resolve conflicts and relationship problems that are causing aggressive behavior in your teenager.
If the adolescent has been diagnosed with a psychiatric or neurological problem, like epilepsy or depression, taking the right prescription medication can reduce aggression.
4. Behavioral Contracts:
You can try and set up behavioral contracts with your teenagers, which force them to take responsibility for their behavior and conduct.
- List down positive behaviors that you expect and the reward they will earn for those behaviors.
- Do not offer material things as rewards.
- Instead, focus on natural consequences, such as going for a movie with friends or getting homework pass once a week.
5. House Rules:
Create a set of house rules that your adolescents have to follow whether they like it or not.
- Make the rules clear.
- Also let your teenager know that they will have to bear the consequences, if the rules are broken.
6. Relaxation Techniques:
Teach relaxation techniques to your teenagers to cope with their stress.
- If your teenager is burdened with homework or experiences extreme peer pressure, this will be quite useful.
- Also, in turn, this will ease aggressive behaviors.
- Teach them to use the techniques when they get angry and stressed.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What type of aggression is most common in late adolescence?
Physical aggression is reportedly most prevalent in early to late adolescence (13). Furthermore, boys are more likely to display physically aggressive behaviors due to a few risk factors, including smoking and alcoholism.
2. At what age does aggression peak?
A few studies showed that social and physical aggression might peak at around 14 and 15, respectively (14).
3. How do I help my daughter with relational aggression?
Listen out, be kind and empathetic to your daughter. Help her establish stable relationships with her peers and seek expert help if required to teach her effective behavioral strategies (15).
4. What are direct and indirect aggression?
Some examples of direct aggression are physical and verbal harm or threatening. On the contrary, indirect aggression includes social marginalization and gossiping behaviors (16).
Aggression in children is not uncommon due to several physical and hormonal changes they experience during adolescence. Apart from the physiologic causes, other pathologic causes may also lead to aggression in adolescent children. This time may be challenging for parents as they want to help their child but are often confused about how to help control aggression in children. While you may try the solutions listed here, do not hesitate to seek therapy and other support for your adolescent child if you suspect their aggressive behavior needs medical attention.
Infographic: Solutions To Teenage Aggression
Aggression is a common and normal part of human behavior, but it can become a problem if it is not managed properly. Teenagers, in particular, may struggle with controlling their aggression, given their emotional, social, and physical changes. So this infographic is to help parents who struggle to control their teen’s anger with strategies to improve their social life and mental health.
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- Gayla Margolin; Katrina A. Vickerman; (2010); Post traumatic stress in children and adolescents exposed to family violence: I. Overview and issues.
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