by: Christina Botto
Does your teen have a short fuse? Are you getting into frequent arguments or fights?
Teen anger is a normal, healthy emotion, but when chronic, explosive anger gets out of control, it can have dire consequences.
It is normal for your teen to get angry when he feels that he has been mistreated or wronged. Feeling angry is not the problem – how your teen vents his anger can be.
Your teen can’t always control the situation they’re in or how it makes them feel, but they need to learn anger management techniques in order to control how they express their anger without being verbally or physically abusive.
Causes of Teenage Anger
Teenagers, like adults, experience stress every day. The stubborn and argumentative teen is fighting for independence and less control from his or her parents.
An angry teen is battling a daily struggle to make sense of emotional issues, such as:
- Changes in their bodies
- Trying to establish an identity
- Dealing with negative peer pressure
- School demands
- Separation or divorce of parents
- Being accused of something they did not do
- Being treated unfairly
- Not getting a chance to voice their opinion
- Chronic illness or death of a loved one
- Taking on too many activities
- Parents' high expectations
Teenagers have poor coping skills, and getting angry is the only way they know how to avoid feeling sad, hurt, or afraid.
Teens also have unreasonable expectations, especially if they are used to getting what they want, when they want it. If this does not happen, or they realize that things are not always within their control – they become angry.
Parents are often caught by surprise and react by either yelling or arguing back, or punishing their teen for showing their anger. Instead, parents of teenagers need to recognize this show of anger or rage as a signal that their teen may be lacking anger management skills, or is overwhelmed by the demands of his or her daily lives.
Help Your Teen Recognize the Way Anger Feels:
- Knots in the stomach
- Clenching hands or jaw
- Beginning to yell, scream, or cry
- Breathing faster
- Pacing or needing to walk around
- Trouble concentrating
- Pounding heart
- Becoming physically tense
Once teens recognize the signs they exhibit when they are becoming angry, they will become better prepared to deal with their anger in a more positive and less violent way.
How to Help Your Angry Teenager:
- Ask your teen what unresolved conflict he or she is facing
- Listen to your teen
- Focus on his or her feelings
- Understand the situation from your teen's perspective
- Help your teen work towards a solution
Unresolved issues can escalate to physical violence, addictions, and psychosomatic disorders. This can devastate your teen’s life by destroying relationships, clouding effective thinking, and potentially ruining his or her future.
Anger Management Tips and Techniques:
Anger can be a challenging emotion for many teens as it often masks other underlying emotions. The challenge for parents is to help your teen cope with emotions and deal with anger in a more constructive way:
Establish rules and consequences Uncover what’s behind the anger Be aware of anger warning signs and triggers Help your teen find healthy ways to relieve anger Give your teen space to retreat
Helpguide’s Bring Your Life into Balance is a free, 5 part, self-guided anger management program that focuses on remaining calm and focused in the face of daily challenges.
Teen anger management is all about becoming aware of your teen’s underlying feelings and needs and developing healthier ways to manage upset. Rather than trying to suppress their anger, the goal is to express it in constructive ways.
The book thus far has been very validating. As I read each chapter I find myself thinking yeah my son says that or does that. It really helps put things in perspective. The tips to improve the relationships between parent and child are very logical and easy to apply. –Melissa Hendrickson, Sedro Woolley, WA
While reading this book, I felt that the real stories the author shared helped me in realizing I'm not alone and that so many other parents were dealing with the same thing. The book helped me in approaching problems with my daughter in a different way. –Mary Faett, reston, va
I hope you all can get this email to Christina. I am the father of a 16 year old son. Last night he and I had an episode. I went to the net, looking for articles on parenting angry teenagers. I saw a short article on Christina's book and bought it in a matter of seconds. I read most of it last night. It's as though she was describing me and my son. Her book is fantastic. Thank you for the insight, Christina. –Clifford Williams,Baton Rouge, LA
Christina has been such a help to me raising my son. He and I now have clearly defined roles and boundaries, and we are closer than ever. Thank you Christina for your advice, your patience, and your grace. –Timothy Ready, ocala, fl
Botto's book helped me understand my son better. Instead of getting angry at him, I now meet him with love and compassion. Our relationship is improving every day. I feel that I am a much better dad to my son by giving him the support he needs. I recommend this book to any parent of a teen. –anthony cardez, raleigh, nc