Anger and Rebellion in Teens: How to Deal With These
During the teenage years, it is not only the changes in the body that is wrecking havoc on your teens. The tensions in your family life, the added pressures of school and the transition from childhood to adulthood and a number of other factors may leave your teen an emotional train wreck. More often than not, he will vent his frustration and confusion in the form of anger. What’s more, these feelings may be directed to figures of authority such as you (the parents), teachers or other elders.
Teens are, for most cases, not yet equipped to deal with their emotions. The tendency is that they feel these emotions “in living color” or in more intense degrees than adults do. Their reactions will also tend to be more exaggerated. They are also testing boundaries and they do this by trying to break rules or asserting themselves over someone in authority.
However, there are times when your teen’s anger and defiance have gone overboard and are severely testing your patience. During these times, the number of arguments, infractions and behavioral issues may rise dramatically. It is best for you as a parent to gear yourselves up for this and to know how to effectively deal with anger and rebelliousness in teens.
Here are some ideas:
– Work to control your own emotions. Our teens may be taking their behavioral cues from us. If we exhibit a poor response towards situations and blow up at the slightest provocation, then our teens will also have the same approach. Try to have an honest look at your responses so that you can start working on making improvements on your attitudes.
– Keep the lines of communication open. Often, teens lash out in anger because they are unable to express how they feel in a more composed manner. Be patient with your teen and provide lots of opportunities for you to talk. Work to listen in such a way that your teen does not feel threatened to open up. Another effective technique is to echo what he said in the form of questions, so as to clarify his statements.
– Say no to verbal and physical abuse. Even when you feel provoked into shouting and heaping verbal abuse on the teen, refrain from doing so. It will just worsen the situation. Practice various forms of decompression so that you can calm yourself when it is time for you to talk to your teen. In the same manner, do not tolerate the same kind of abuse from your teen. This same principle should also cover physical abuse.
– Establish reasonable rules and implement consequences fairly. Do not threaten with consequences that you think of at the spur of the moment. Chances are, the consequences you give for a certain infraction will be harsher if you give it when you are at the height of temper. Rather, before conflict even sets in, establish house rules and the consequences for breaking them. These rules can cover how they talk with you and other people, what time they are to be at home, the chores and responsibilities they have at home and the prohibition on the use of alcohol or drugs.
– Walk away. You can choose to walk away from a heated situation – and come back when everyone is calmer.
– Deal with the issue, not attack the person. Do not threaten, nor throw insults at your teen’s person. Rather, try to get to the bottom of the source of anger. Speak calmly and softly.
– Find alternative ways for your teen to cope with anger. The teen may need to channel his anger into positive areas such as music or sports. Being physically active can have a positive effect on a teen’s sense of wellbeing and self-esteem.
– Keep other family members safe. If the outbursts of anger involve shouting matches or physical altercations, think about removing either the teen or the smaller children from the situation. This is where a short-term troubled teen program can help. Enrolling a teen into summer camp or a wilderness program can remove the teen from a potentially explosive situation – and keep other family members from being negatively affected.
– Get help. A teen’s anger may point to a more serious situation such as depression or addiction to prohibited substances. If your teen becomes uncontrollable, consider getting therapy for the teen (as well as for you and other family members). You can also think about enrolling your teen in a teen military program or other troubled teen services that can help him take a closer look at his anger.
The important thing with this situation is that you are aware of the situation and are willing to take the steps towards correcting it. Be patient and begin with the end in mind – your teen becoming a mature, self-confident and happy adult.