The teen years are chaotic for some adolescents who find it difficult to make the transition from a child to an adult. During this time, teens may lose control of their emotions and they may lash out at parents, teachers or siblings in anger. If ignored, excessive anger in teens may lead to violence, substance abuse or participation in high-risk behaviours. While the teen years can be trying, anger management techniques may help a teen and his family control angry outbursts.
Identify the Problem
Anger doesn't just happen; it is a reaction to someone or something. According to KidsHealth.org, hormonal changes in a teen's body may increase moodiness and increase the risk of a teen lashing out in anger. In addition, teens are just beginning to learn to deal with the stress of everyday life in the form of pressure at school to complete their studies or to behave in a specific manner. Children who live in a home where one or both parents exhibit anger are more likely to use this method of blowing off steam when they become frustrated.
Diffuse the Anger
Teens can offset their anger by increasing their emotional awareness in every situation. No matter what is occurring, the teen can identify what she is feeling and what caused her to feel this way. In this manner, she becomes a participant in controlling her reactions.
Thinking before responding is another way to control anger. When teens learn to identify an appropriate response, they are less likely to lash out instinctively. By taking a deep breath or mentally counting to ten, the teen has a few seconds before reacting. This self-control may be difficult at first but with practice, the teen will find it easier and more rewarding than reacting in blind anger.
Patience and practice are keys to learning to control angry outbursts. Most teens are embarrassed and ashamed when they lose control. Changing angry behaviour doesn't happen overnight, it takes a commitment from the teen to control her response to situations that upset her. Learning to relax and take life in stride are learnt skills that come only with consistent practice each time the teen faces a potentially upsetting situation.
Teens can follow a five-step approach to diffusing their anger. First, identify the source of the anger through self-awareness. Second, identify three possible solutions. Third, identify the potential consequences of each solution. Fourth, choose a response only after assessing the solutions and consequences. Fifth, analyse the reaction after the situation is over, looking for the pros and cons. By using these five steps, the teen learns to assess a situation and respond appropriately.
A Parent's Role
Caught in a stormy relationship with a teen that angers easily, parents may respond to their child's anger with anger of their own. These heated arguments may lead to resentment and an escalating cycle of uncontrollable anger. Parents can assist their teen in anger management by being a good role model and by not taking part in fights when their teen reacts in anger.
If a teen exhibits excessive anger that leads to violence, the parent should seek help from a mental health professional.