Learn the Basics About Anger Management for Teens
Managing troubling emotions is one of life’s most important skills, but it’s not taught in ordinary schools. As a result, teenagers are often left to fend for themselves when it comes to learning how to understand the connections between their thoughts, feelings, and actions, and lashing out in anger is one of the most common maladaptive coping practices.
It’s usually easier for parents to identify anger problems in their teenage children because they are frequently on the receiving end of verbal and/or physical abuse. It’s important to remember that your teenager is not going out of the way to disrupt his or her family life. Angry teens often simply don’t have the skills required to manage their emotions in healthier ways.
Causes of Teen Anger
It can be incredibly frustrating, and even frightening, to live with a teenager who is angry all the time and takes it out on you. After all, as a parent, you want your children to be happy, not mad at the world. The first step towards helping them find happiness and emotional balance is to gain a better understanding of the causes of teen anger.
Experts distinguish between healthy and unhealthy anger in teens, and it’s important for you to be able to recognize the difference. Healthy anger is an appropriate response to a negative situation. It’s often a response to unfair, upsetting, or threatening events, and teens often express healthy anger by raising their voices or crying.
Hormone-Induced Emotional Changes
In some cases, otherwise happy and well-adjusted teens can become irritable and quick to anger without any clear cause. In this case, brief spells of anger induced by hormonal changes can be normal.
Underlying Mental Health Conditions
When a teen’s anger seems constant or gets out of control, there’s typically something else going on beneath the surface. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder can cause teens to lash out in anger instead of expressing their negative mood changes in clearer ways. Boys are more likely than girls to exhibit symptoms of mood disorders through anger, aggression, and irritability.
Teenagers suffering from mental illnesses are also more likely to turn to substances like alcohol and recreational drugs in an effort to ease their suffering. Unfortunately, substance abuse can make both mental illnesses and anger problems much worse.
If your teen is exhibiting other symptoms of a substance use disorder alongside growing anger problems, you will need to intervene. In addition to anger, symptoms of substance abuse disorders in teens can include dropping old friends and previously beloved hobbies for new friend groups, breaking rules, sleeping more than usual,
Effective Anger Management for Teens Techniques
No one is born with the knowledge of how to cope with anger and express it in a healthy way. Teens learn coping mechanisms from their parents, teachers, peers, and others in their lives, and sometimes, they’re not socially appropriate. If a teenager is struggling to express healthy or hormone-induced episodes of anger, parents can step in and try to help by introducing effective anger management for teens techniques at home.
Create Rules and Expectations
Every family has a different set of expectations regarding acceptable vs intolerable behaviors. Make those expectations clear, and don’t allow threats, physical violence, or bullying in your home.
Teach Teens About Aggression
Anger is a feeling that everyone experiences, whereas aggression is a behavior that can lead to myriad social problems. Teach teens the difference and make it clear that aggressive behavior is not acceptable.
Talk About Assertiveness
Anger issues in teens often stem from a lack of assertiveness. When this is the case, having a talk about how people can stand up for themselves without transgressing other people’s rights and boundaries can help. You can also try role-playing games to model appropriate responses.
Help Teenagers Recognize the Early Signs
Being able to recognize the early signs that anger is on the rise can help teens implement coping mechanisms before they lash out at others. You can help your child recognize those signs by asking about physical sensations and teaching him or her to recognize physiological warning signs such as clenched fists, a rapid heartbeat, or a flushed face.
Teach Appropriate Coping Skills
There are socially acceptable ways of dealing with anger, and teens should be made aware of them. A lack of appropriate coping skills can lead anyone to lash out verbally, or even physically. Examples of acceptable coping skills include meditation, exercise, or even self-directed time-outs.
Signs of More Serious Problems
There’s not always a way for parents to effectively communicate with their teens. When anger is a symptom of a more serious underlying problem, it may not be possible to tackle it at home. In that case, professional support is a must. Teens with minor anger problems may benefit from attending several sessions with a counselor or therapist, but for those with more serious issues, in-home care may not be enough. Signs it may be time for a more serious intervention include:
Physical violence or aggression
Constant arguing and disruption of family life
Regular outbursts that include screaming at others or lashing out
Bullying of peers
Making verbal threats
Cruelty toward animals
If these issues occur as a result of your teen’s anger, you need to take the problem seriously. Your teenager is currently developing unhealthy and destructive coping mechanisms that could be carried into adult life, causing all kinds of harm. It’s best to catch these problems early and offer anger management for teens who need to control their anger and turn their lives around.
Find a Solution
Teenagers who are angry all the time and express it in socially unacceptable ways such as acting out in aggression need some extra help. At Shelterwood Academy, we believe in helping students learn how to regulate their own emotions through participation in what’s known as the Brain Balance Program. Our students receive not just academic assistance but also one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and cognitive training designed to strengthen areas of the brain involved with regulating mood.
Contact us today at Shelterwood Academy to learn more about our programs.