Teens frequently have difficulty keeping their anger in check. Rather than trying to control feelings of anger and frustration as they erupt, many teens simply lash out verbally, with screaming and yelling, or physically, by slamming doors or stomping away. Others become quiet and depressed.
Angry feelings are normal, but how teens – and adults – cope with them determines whether the response is appropriate and acceptable. When underlying issues causing the anger are not dealt with, that anger can turn violent and angry teenagers can become troubled teens.
Fortunately, there are steps you can discuss with your teenager to help them better deal with anger management and the emotions they are feeling.
- 1. Ask about situations in which your teen is most likely to feel angry. Talk about triggers that frequently cause angry feelings. Try to spot patterns.
- 2. Discuss how to identify anger. Ask your teen how they feel when they become angry. Most teens experience an increased heart rate, increased breathing, tightened muscles and may start to become overheated.
- 3. Talk about the thoughts-feelings-behaviors connections. By paying attention to thoughts that cause angry feelings, teens can choose how they respond. That is, by learning techniques for calming themself down, they can avoid acting out impulsively due to anger.
- 4. Suggest calming tips. Taking deeper breaths, talking the situation over with a friend, changing their environment, can all help your teen get perspective about what’s really going on and what he or she should do about it.
- 5. Offer coping techniques. Your teen has the power to decide for him- or herself how they will respond when situations come up. Suggest they think about the consequences of saying or doing things in anger, which may help them see that what they may want to do is worse than another course of action.
- 6. Give the “walk away” option. Suggest that when your teen is so angry they can’t think straight, that they should walk away until they are calmer, or else they may say or do things they will surely regret later.
In addition to improved self-confidence and better relationships, teens who learn to manage their anger can also benefit from better health. The Center for Young Women’s Health at Children’s Hospital in Boston reports that “People who manage their anger get sick less often, and feel better emotionally.”