Most teenager parents agree that their teenagers have anger management issues. One moment a teenager might feel on top of the world, and the next, they might lash out angrily. Though anger is a normal emotion, teenagers feel it more frequently as they are going through many changes simultaneously and often express their emotions quickly rather than sitting back and reflecting on their options.
Some common reasons teenagers have frequent anger outbursts compared to adults include preparation for going out in the world as an adult, the stress of separating from their parents, and the ongoing development of the prefrontal cortex (that develops till a person is 26 years old). Hormones and the ongoing development of the brain are also key reasons for teenage anger issues.
How to Know If You Have an Angry Teen or a Teen Who is Angry?
As a parent, you need to know whether you have an angry teen or a teenager who is angry. A teen who is angry will show anger from time to time, and it would fade away with time. In contrast, an angry teen will act beyond a teenager with anger. They will express anger frequently and will seem upset or mad at the world in general rather than focusing the anger on one instance. The persistent anger of an angry teen is not good for the family and needs to be fixed. Only teens who can control their anger become happy and healthy adults.
Types of Anger Disorders
Teenage anger can be of one of the following types:
This type of anger is usually caused by life demands that seem impossible to handle. The frustration of not being able to do something often turns into anger.
It is a type of anger that is prolonged and can impact a teen’s immune system. It can also lead to disorders like anxiety and depression.
This type of anger is directed towards other people and might create jealousy or resentment towards one or more people. Verbal abuse is common in this type of anger.
It is a result of low self-worth or guilt. Teenagers who experience this often attempt self-harm to relieve overwhelming feelings.
It is a type of anger directed towards a person or an organization that a teenager thinks has wronged them somehow. It can be quite destructive.
Volatile or Explosive Anger
Also known as Intermittent Explosive Disorder, this type of anger is spontaneous, excessive, and can turn violent towards other people.
Avoidant or Passive Anger
Abnormally silent teens might be displaying passive or avoidant anger. They do it as they aren’t able to express their emotions properly.
What Should a Teen Do If Anger Feels Out of Control?
If you think your teen’s anger is getting out of control, you should try the following
Leave the Space– If your teen’s anger seems out of control, ask them to leave the place where they are becoming angry. A change of scene often helps a teen to cool down.
Walk Away- Ask your teen to walk away and don’t let them use a vehicle as they might end up speeding or getting involved in an accident.
Deal with Anger Smartly– Ask your teen to repeat a calming word, take deep breaths, relax their muscles, or imagine a calm place. They are all safe ways to deal with anger.
Stay Away from Weapons- When your teen’s anger feels out of control, make sure you keep them away from anything they can use as a weapon.
How Can Parents Help a Teenager Deal with Anger Issues?
If you are a teen parent who wants to keep your teen’s anger in control and avoid escalated situations, you need to consider one or more of the following methods. They will help keep the energy in your home calm and avoid the constant clashes with your teen.
Don’t Control Your Teen
Teenagers detest it when you try to control them. It can escalate their anger or aggression, and they might vent it out at you. It would be best if you let your teenager feel like a separate and unique individual. To make your teen feel more in control, you need to let them have a say in their life decisions. Stop treating your teen as a young child. Instead, it would help if you treated them like young adults while ensuring safe boundaries.
Watch Your Tone
If your teen is showing an attitude and you also do the same, it might lead to unwanted clashes. You should modify your tone and make it more businesslike- no emotion, consistent, and matter of fact. When you use this tone to create safe boundaries and lay out some ground rules, the teen would be more likely to respond maturely. If you speak to a teen like a child, the teen might feel disrespected and might lash out in anger to get more independence and respect from the parent(s).
Respect their Privacy
Parents often want their teenagers to stay away from bad habits like violence, drugs, etc., and as a result, they often spy on their teens and breach their privacy. If you do that, the teenager will feel violated, and they will feel that you don’t trust them. To retaliate, the teen might start to hide things from you and use different tactics to stop you from invading their privacy. To avoid this power clash, parents must respect their teen’s privacy as they would do for another adult.
Improve Your Listening Skills
Many teenagers have confessed that they feel angry or hurt when they think there is no one they can share their emotions with. If you are a teen parent, you need to have a sit-down with your teen and understand their struggles. It would help if you let them express their emotions without feeling judged. If a teen wants to express their emotions, don’t ignore them, and give them the attention they need. If you don’t do that, your teen might feel powerless and misunderstood, and it might further fuel their anger.
Help Your Teen to Develop Healthy Habits
To help your teen manage and express their emotions, you need to model your behavior accordingly. If you expect your teen to talk to you when they are struggling with emotions, you should also do the same. You can seek therapy or join groups to get emotional support and not hide it from your teen. It will let the teen know that it’s okay to ask for help when struggling with emotions. Similarly, if you choose healthy habits like deep breathing when you are very angry, your teen will also copy you.
Set Anger Limits
If your teen gets out of control during anger sessions, it would be wise to set some anger limits. Set rules on what a teen cannot do in anger, such as using violence, breaking objects, or swearing. Ensure that the teen abides by the limits by attaching a punishment every time they break a rule, like grounding a teen for a week if they swear at you or someone else. Do this in a businesslike manner and keep your emotions aside for a while.
Don’t Micromanage Your Teen
It is also a smart move not to try to micromanage your teen. If you keep an eye on every moment of your teen, they might feel suffocated and lash out at you. Give your teen some autonomy to make small life decisions like their hair color or how much makeup to use. If you try to micromanage them, they will resist and be more rebellious than you might be comfortable with.
Avoid Too Much Criticism
No one is perfect and teenage anger is quite common. Please don’t make a big issue out of it and criticize your teenager too much. Let your teen make mistakes and learn from them. If you constantly criticize your teenager, it might negatively impact their development and make them question their self-worth. Appreciate the good things in your teen and give equal importance to them while talking about your teen to someone.
Spend Quality Time With Your Teen
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to take a genuine interest in your teen’s life and spend quality time with them. Take an interest in the hobbies and passions of your teen, and make sure that you do those with your teen. It will help you deepen your connection with your teenager, and they will feel accepted and understood. You can ask your teen to help you learn things they are passionate about, be it how to play guitar or dance as they do.
Parents of teenagers need to realize that anger and frustration at this age are quite common. Instead of trying to control your teen, you need to help them tackle it to don’t hurt themselves or others. Managing anger helps a person to feel better emotionally and even fall sick less often. It also helps teenagers to be more mature.
If you need help in managing your teenager’s anger, you can connect with me. I am Michelle Mehta, a certified professional co-active coach, an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation, and a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner.
I am passionate about helping teenagers feel authentic, empowered, worthy, loved, and help them create a sense of belonging and believe that the world needs their talents. So, if you feel you’re called to have your teenager work with me, let’s set up a time to talk and connect. I look forward to Empowering Your Teenager to Shine with Confidence and Cope with Mental Health Issues. To know more, click here