Helping Your Teen Manage His Anger

Is your teen an angry one? Often, teens experience a barrage of emotions and feel these emotions even more intensely. They may swing from being ecstatic to disappointed, energetic one moment to sullen in the next. However, in some extremes, a teen may exhibit more than the normal level of anger.

It is important to recognize that a teen is not yet mature enough to handle his emotions. The area of the brain that regulates self-control, discipline or decision-making has not yet fully developed while he is more susceptible to responding to basic survival needs such as sleep or hunger. Hence, he may be impulsive and may have poor control over choices and reactions. The show of anger may also be indicative of other feelings that the teen is unable to express such as fear, frustration, sadness, hurt or a sense of loss. As a result, your teen may lash out, be confrontational, mouth off against you and others, be sullen or be physically destructive.

Some causes of anger

–          Level of stress. The teen may be undergoing stress from a lot of sides – academic, emotional, social and physical. He may be stressed due to academic requirements, extracurricular activities, and peer pressure or relationship problems.

–          Body changes. When the teen is undergoing puberty, his hormones are changing and may be responsible for the violent mood swings the teen has.

–          Home or environment. Anger management problems may also be rooted in the teen’s environment, especially the example his parents and loved ones set. If a teen has parents that also have anger management issues, that teen will have a higher likelihood of having anger management issues as well.

–          Mental health condition and experiences. A teen may exhibit anger as a result of a trauma he experienced or due to his mental health condition. Depression or anxiety disorders, as well as being a victim of bullying or abuse, can engender feelings of anger that he is not yet equipped to handle properly.

–          Drug or alcohol abuse. If a teen uses drugs or abuses alcohol, these substances will negatively affect a teen’s emotions.

Getting help

Mind you, anger is a healthy emotion and when handled well, can even be beneficial to the teen’s emotional growth. However, if the teen’s anger is getting out of hand and he is hurting and endangering you, the family or other people, it may be time for a more serious intervention. When his outbursts turn violent and can be a threat to the safety of others, it may be time to call the police. It can also be a call for you to enroll the teen in a teen military program or summer camp.

These troubled teen programs can provide the necessary outlet and the training that your teen needs to mature and grow as an emotionally healthy individual who is able to manage his anger effectively. Look for programs that provide:

–          Physically challenging activities. This can be a great way for him to channel his anger into positive activities. This makes a teen wilderness program a good choice since the teen will need to exert a lot of his energy to complete the tasks.

–          Behavior modification therapy. Some programs also provide a resident therapist that provides behavioral modification. This aims to give the teen a higher level of awareness of his thought and action patterns and the tools he needs to positively break through negative patterns and develop positive ones.

–          Counseling. This can be on a one-on-one basis or given for the whole family. This aims to look deeper into the cause of the anger and how the teen and family members can help each other deal with anger management issues.

–          Therapeutic activities. This can include animal assisted activities, the arts and other relaxing and healing activities.

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