8 Causes & 6 Solutions To Control Aggression In Adolescence

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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.

Did you know?
Exposure to violence in the media (TV, movies, etc.) may be a risk factor for adolescents’ aggressive or violent behavior development (17).

2. Abuse:

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:

Schizophrenia in teens

Image: iStock

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:

Teenagers suffering from learning disorders and ADHD have several social and emotional difficulties (10). This may come across as the teen being aggressive and angry.

6. Addiction and Abuse:

Teenager abusing drugs

Image: iStock

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.

Point to consider
Adopted children may show violent tantrums and other behavioral and emotional issues in times of stress or excitement (18).

6 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:

1. Counseling:

Counseling to control aggression in adolescence

Image: iStock

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.

3. Medication:

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:

Behavioral contracts to control aggression in teens

Image: Shutterstock

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

Image: iStock

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.
Quick tip
Never handle aggressive adolescents with aggression or violence. Instead, stay calm and set an example (19).

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.

how to control teenage aggression [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Pre-teen and teenage development – what to expect.
    https://raisingchildren.net.au/teens/development/understanding-your-teenager/teen-development
  2. Gayla Margolin; Katrina A. Vickerman; (2010); Post traumatic stress in children and adolescents exposed to family violence: I. Overview and issues.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2811337/
  3. Violent behavior in children and teens.
    https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tv6556
  4. Bipolar disorder in teens.
    https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=bipolar-disorder-in-adolescents-90-P01618
  5. Panic disorder.
    https://mentalhealthliteracy.org/mental-disorders/panic-disorder/
  6. Schizophrenia.
    https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/s/schizophrenia/symptoms-and-causes
  7. Depression in teens.
    https://www.mhanational.org/depression-teens-0
  8. Post-traumatic stress disorder in children.
    https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/ptsd.html
  9. Valsamma Eapen, et al; (2016); Comorbidities, social impact, and quality of life in Tourette syndrome.
    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00097/full
  10. Social. Emotional and behavioral changes.
    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00097/full
  11. Alcohol and drug abuse.
    https://www.aacap.org/aacap/Families_and_Youth/Glossary_of_Symptoms_and_Illnesses/Alcohol_and_Drug_Abuse.aspx
  12. Teen aggression and arguments.
    https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/children-and-young-adults/advice-for-parents/teen-aggression-and-arguments/
  13. Marit Henriksen et al. (2020); Developmental Course andRisk Factors of Physical Aggression inLate Adolescence.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343930816_Developmental_Course_and_Risk_Factors_of_Physical_Aggression_in_Late_Adolescence
  14. Katherine J. Karriker-Jaffe et al., (2009); The development of aggression during adolescence: Sex differences in trajectories of physical and social aggression among youth in rural areas.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2773662/#:~:text=Physical%20aggression%20peaked%20around%20age
  15. Ioanna Voulgaridou and Constantinos M. Kokkinos; (2015); Relational aggression in adolescents: A review of theoretical and empirical research.
    https://daneshyari.com/article/preview/94467.pdf
  16. Direct and indirect aggression tactics as a function of domain-specific self-esteem.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886915301197
  17. Violent Behavior in Children and Adolescents.
    https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Understanding-Violent-Behavior-In-Children-and-Adolescents-055.aspx
  18. Behavioral and Emotional Issues in Adopted Children.
    https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/behavioral-and-emotional-issues-adopted-and-foster-children
  19. Teen aggression and arguments.
    https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/children-and-young-adults/advice-for-parents/teen-aggression-and-arguments/


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