People handle frustration and stress in different ways because of specific situations, outside issues and personalities. Some lose faith in their abilities and get depressed, some become more resilient and some get angry. Others do other things as there are many ways to handle internal frustrations. Teens that get angry compound their frustrations because anger surges outward, usually towards another person. They make poor decisions when they are angry and then a teen has to face the consequences for their poor decisions.
While anger is a feeling that is often justified, teens who act out on their anger with violent actions toward the object of their anger, or toward someone else like their parents when they are unable to act out on the object of their anger, are not justified. Teens that get angry and then act out need to be taught that it is not acceptable to do so. They need to be shown that anger and their violent behavior are not one in the same thing; one does not cause the other. Anger is what they are feeling, but the violent behavior is a behavior choice - a poor decision they have made. These teens really need to be shown how to deal with their angry feelings.
Help Your Teen Recognize the Warning Signs of Their Anger
When your teen is able to understand how their anger builds, they will be better able handle their frustrations without be blindsided by becoming full-on angry and possibly exploding. Warning signs that someone is becoming angry are:
- Becoming physically tense
- Gritting teeth
- Hands clench, arms crossed
- Voice gets louder or person becomes stone-cold silent
- Increased and rapid heart rate
- Sweating, especially your palms
- Verbally snapping at others when communicating
- Becoming sarcastic
- Losing their sense of humor
- Acting in an abusive or abrasive manner
- Craving substances that relax the person
- Raising your voice or beginning to yell, scream, or cry
Once your teen recognizes the signs that they have when they are becoming angry, they will become better prepared to deal with their anger in a more positive and less violent way. You can help them by sharing the warning signs you have seen them exhibit when they get angry. Do this in a non-threatening way, having a conversation with them when their anger is not an issue. Share with your teen that you know talking about them managing their anger may frustrate them, but you are hoping that they will be able to use what you are telling them to make better choices when they get angry.
Encourage Your Teen to Prevent Situations That Get Them Angry
There are situations, behaviors and people in everyone's life that will cause you to become angry. Some people get very angry when they drink, use drugs or don't get enough sleep. There may be a person who is always teasing your teen so much so that the sight of them may makes your teen angry. Or your teen daughter may get angry at a girlfriend when she won't stop flirting with her current crush. All of these things can be prevented if your teen gives the effort and time it takes to prevent them.
First, your teen needs to strive towards healthy behaviors, like getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercise and avoid non-healthy behaviors, like doing drugs or drinking alcohol. Then, your teen needs to think about the importance of certain people in their lives and perhaps reshuffle the pecking order of their friends. When someone makes you angry time and again, you have to look at why this person has that kind of power over your emotions. Then, you can make a conscious decision to not give that person power over you by avoiding them, finding a new best friend, hanging out with a different group or just by acknowledging that they are not as important as your teen once thought.
Anger Management Techniques for Your Teen
Even if your teen does every thing they can to prevent themselves from becoming angry, there will still be times when it will happen. Here are some techniques they can use when they get angry:
- Get some exercise. By doing something physical your teen is getting rid of the energy of the built up anger and they will feel better for doing so. They may be able to handle the problem that made them angry after some exercise or they may need some more time - allow them to make that choice.
- Try relaxation techniques. Teens can try: Release Tension With Stress Relief Breathing. While it may seem silly or hard to do for your teen at first, if used regularly these breathing techniques will become second nature and help your teen handle their anger more positively throughout their lives.
- Give your teen some space. Allow your teen to take some time alone to defuse and think through the situation looking for ways to handle it in a positive manner.
- Buy them a journal. Getting their anger out by journaling about it will help your teen not bottle the anger up inside.
Allow Your Teen to Own Their Anger and Its Consequences
Again, your teen is not able to always control their emotions. It's normal, people get angry. But everyone is expected to be in control of their behaviors and not get violent when angry. If a teen does not make the right choices when they are angry, it is important for their parents to allow them to face the natural or logical consequences of their actions. To allow them to not face these consequences will send the wrong message to the teen and they will not put forth an effort to learn how to control their anger. The teen is likely to become more and more violent until limits are set in place. Parents should strive to avoid this outcome.
If you feel your teen is unable to control their anger without intervention, then by all means seek help for you teen immediately. Here are some resources:
- 10 Reasons Troubled Teens Resist Treatment
- How Parents Know Professional Help for Troubled Teens Is Needed
- Family Therapy for Troubled Teens: Getting Started
- Treatment Programs for Troubled Teens