Has your teen been rude or aggressive lately? Are you worried the child is losing temper often, with little or no control over their behavior when they’re angry?
If you are nodding in agreement, and if your teen’s aggressive behaviors include verbal and physical attacks involving the destruction of property or injury to self or others, you should be concerned (1).
Anger is a normal emotion that must be expressed healthily to prevent building up of any negative thoughts. But when a teenager is unable to do that, they lose control and create situations that could be difficult to handle.
In this MomJunction post, we explain the reasons for anger in teens, signs of teen anger, and tips for effective anger management in teens.
Why Do Teens Get Angry?
Anger is a natural emotion and is experienced by people of all ages, including babies, children, teens, and adults. Different things could make different people angry. Things that commonly lead to anger issues in teenagers include:
- Mood swings
It takes a lot of effort to deal with a flaring temper. That is why teaching children and teenagers anger management skills early on can help them deal with their emotions better.
So the next time your teenager is angry, try to find out what’s making them angry to help them deal with it better. But how do you know when the teen is angry? The next section talks about it.
What Are The Signs Of Teen Anger?
Healthy expression of anger involves verbal communication of the emotion, without getting aggressive or violent. But sometimes, symptoms of teen anger include (2):
- Physical attacks
- Verbal attacks
- Malicious gossip
- Anti-social behavior
- Intense sarcasm
- Prejudiced speech
- Substance abuse
- Psychosomatic disorders (Psychological disorders)
You can also teach the teen to check for these physical symptoms they experience when they are angry.
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Clenched jaw or fists
- Trembling or shaking
- Muscle tension
Some may also experience a churning in the stomach, heat around the head, the urge to play with something dangerous or bully someone. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, take remedial action immediately. More about it in the next section.
Nine Anger Management Techniques For Teens
Pent up frustration in teens usually results in anger, which they can convey in a myriad ways. Sometimes, violence and aggression become their means to express anger, especially when they have difficulty talking about it or showing it in other ways.
Teaching teenagers how to control their anger is essential to protect them and the others around them from physical and emotional harm. Here are nine anger management techniques to help your teenage boy or girl convey their emotions better.
- Setting anger rules at home: Let your teen have clarity on what behavior is acceptable at home and what will not be tolerated. Have rules on how everyone in the house can express their anger, along with consequences for breaking the rules. This encourages them to behave in a specific way and tone down their anger consciously.
- Teaching them the difference between anger and aggression: Getting angry and aggressive are two different things. Expressing anger is acceptable and essential, but aggressiveness is a complete no. Aggression includes destroying things (throwing and breaking), hurting oneself or others. Verbal aggression is also a serious offense when done on social platforms. Teaching the child this difference can help shape their behavior.
- Making them self-confident: One of the reasons for teen anger could be a lack of self-confidence. Teaching adolescents to speak for themselves properly, without being rebellious, is the best way to help them control their anger.
- Teaching them to identify the signs of anger: The best way to help your teen deal with anger is to teach them to identify the physical symptoms of anger and act on them calmly. Taking deep breaths, counting numbers, taking a brisk walk or running, or listening to soothing sounds or music can help calm the mind and the body, and control the anger.
- Teaching time-out rules: Teach your teen to always end an argument on a positive note. If they are unable to do so, ask them to take a break or time-out to avoid saying something rude or hurtful to the other person. Do not insist that they continue the conversation when they seem to be upset, for that could make them angrier and maybe even aggressive.
- Teaching problem-solving skills: Half the reason for teen frustration or anger is the inability to solve a problem, which leaves them feeling helpless. Equip the teen with problem-solving skills so that they can analyze a situation and find potential solutions and use them confidently. This helps them deal with situations better, whether it is resolving a disagreement with their friends or siblings.
- Helping them cope better: Anger can become aggression when the teenager doesn’t know how to cope with anger. Coping skills help them deal with unwanted situations and keep their anger in control. Work with them to understand what kind of coping techniques/strategies can help diffuse their anger.
- Being a role model: Be a role model to them. Show them how you express your dissatisfaction appropriately, by putting the words in the right manner. It helps them understand that they can express their anger without intimidating or threatening the other person.
- Enrolling in anger management classes: If handling your teen’s anger is getting difficult, then enroll them in anger management classes. Such workshops focus on teaching them the different techniques to overcome their aggressive behavior by developing an internal ability to control and channel their emotions.
Keep reading for a few more tips on how to help your teenager manage their anger better.
15 Tips For Anger Management In Teens
When a teenager’s anger seems to go out of control, bordering aggressive and violent behavior, it is time to step in and help them with it. Here are some tips on how you can help your teens manage their anger better.
- Understand the pressure: It is essential to know the reason behind the teen’s anger: is it due to pressure at school or work, problems in their relationships or friendships, or hormonal fluctuations? Stress can make them go haywire and lose their temper over the smallest of things. Talk to them and help them find a solution to deal with the situation.
- Listen and talk to them: Anger is usually a result of thinking too much about the problems or embarrassments that the teen may not be comfortable talking to you about. If you notice aggressive behavior in your teen, then spend some time with them and understand their problems patiently. A good conversation can help them deal with their feelings better.
- Understand their perspective: Don’t be judgmental or disrespectful if they express any negative feelings towards someone. Instead, hear them out and help them deal with their feelings in a healthy way. Focus on the present and avoid bringing up their past mistakes during the conversation, as it can make them upset and feel guilty.
- Acknowledge their good behavior: If your teen is following the rules for anger management, appreciate them and encourage them to continue doing the same. An appreciation is sometimes more than a reward for them.
- Ignore their passive behavior: Teens may become passive aggressive when you make them do a task for you. Rather than getting angry about their attitude, ignore their behavior, and thank them at the end if they complete the work. They may keep whining about it, but it’s probably only a way to let their frustrations diffuse without having any heated arguments with you.
- Stop nagging: Constantly nagging or criticizing a teen for whatever they do, can irritate and anger them. For instance, tell them to do something once, and remind them once or twice maybe, if necessary. But avoid telling them to do something every now and then. Try positive comments instead of nagging, and that could calm them and teach them to control the anger.
- Stop threatening: When tempers flare, parents usually try to put an end to it by threatening their teens. The better way is to calm the teen and have a discussion about the incident later.
- Empathize: It is a common notion among teenagers that parents can never understand their problems. However, this notion can be changed when you empathize with them. Empathy helps them open up about their feelings and emotions, which can prevent any aggressive behavior.
- Have a sense of humor: Teens have a fickle mind. They may be happy at one instance and sad at the other. Blame it on the hormones! If something funny that you said has made them feel awkward or angry, try and lighten the situation by confronting them with another funny line, or cracking a lame joke that puts them at ease.
- Be negotiable: If the teen starts complaining about the house rules and restrictions, then try to negotiate and tweak the rules a bit if they are being responsible towards following the existing rules. This gives them the freedom to work their way up responsibly and without any restrictions.
- Respect their privacy: Teens usually tend to use their room as their private place, where nobody is allowed without their permission. Respect their need for privacy and give them space as needed. Always knock and ask permission before entering their room, as an unannounced entry as it can lead to unnecessary rifts.
- Acknowledge their requests: When teenagers come up with a request, they expect a positive response from their parents. When that does not happen, the disappointment lashes out as anger. So instead of bluntly rejecting their requests, try to make them understand why it is not possible. This makes them feel that their wish is being acknowledged and know why it cannot be prioritized at the moment.
- Avoid infantilizing them: Parents tend to infantilize their teens in front of others and on various occasions, which may not be taken positively by them. Try to behave maturely with them and treat them as the young adults that they are, which can be a confidence booster for them.
- Engage them in physical activities: Exercises are a great way to improve mood, which in turn helps prevent the build-up of angry feelings within. Make sure that your teen stays physically active as it rejuvenates the mental health. Meditation is also a great way to relax and refresh the mind.
- Help them deal with mood swings: The hormonal and developmental changes are at a high during the teenage phase, resulting in mood swings and irritable behavior. You must understand your teen’s struggles and comfort them while their hormones are acting up. Teach them the techniques to control their anger every time they go through negative feelings.
A teen undergoes so many emotional changes during puberty and may not understand or have the experience to tackle their temper the right way. Timely support and intervention from the family and professionals, if needed, can prevent aggressive behavior and appropriately handle the situation.
Did your teen ever display their anger aggressively or violently? What methods did you adopt to comfort them? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below.
2. Teen Anger: Signs, Symptoms and Management; Shepherd’s Hill Academy