Though it is best to teach healthy ways to deal with feelings of anger during childhood, it is not hopeless when a teen has anger management issues. Love, understanding, and sometimes a bit of accountability can help a teen learn anger management.
There are so many things that teens have to deal with - changing bodies and rushing hormones, peer pressure, the frightening thought of leaving childhood and entering adulthood, grades, sports, boys, girls…you get the picture. All of these things can lead to feeling of inadequacy and stress - which in turn can lead to uncontrolled anger. Anger can be a frightening emotion for teens that are in the midst of many changes. And, anger can be expressed in many ways - physical violence, emotional violence, prejudice, antisocial behavior, sarcasm, withdrawal, addictions, and psychosomatic disorders. These expressions of anger can have such life-shattering results as destroying relationships, harming others, affecting physical health, clouding effective thinking, and ruining the futures of young people.
In many cases, anger can play an important role in alerting adults to underlying problems such as grief, abuse, anxiety, depression, trauma, and alcohol or substance abuse. When any of these things is an underlying factor, the display of anger by the teen can sometimes be a cry for help.
Parents of angry teens often react with anger - and most of the time, this reaction will only escalate the problem. With relationships that are already changing as teens become more independent and parents try to hold on to their child, putting anger into the equation can often be volatile and have serious results. It is the adult's responsibility to respond to their teens' anger rather than react - and by example, show the teen how to handle anger in a constructive and problem-solving manner.
The first step is to identify where the anger is coming from. What situations bring about these uncontrollable feelings? Does the teen have reasonable expectations about him/herself, others, and life in general? Who is the teen's anger directed at? Is the teen using effective communication skills? Together the parent and teen can explore the feelings the teen is experiencing as well as the factors that contribute to these feelings. This will give a starting point for learning to manage the teen's anger. The single most important thing that a parent can do for a child is to LISTEN - and actually hear what your child is telling you. Watch for underlying problems that the teen may be afraid or embarrassed to talk about. If your teen feels that he/she is able to talk openly and honestly with you without consequences, you will stand a better chance at finding and solving the problems behind your child's anger.
In some situations, if intervention has not come soon enough for the parents to effectively help the teen to learn the behavior changes necessary, professional help is available and should be sought. There are many programs available for teens that place them in an environment with peers who are experiencing the same problems with anger management. Knowing that you are not alone is a big factor in getting a teen to take the first step and seek advice or counseling from a parent or other adult.
Anger management is a learned behavior and no matter how your teen may be acting at the moment, with love, understanding, and support, it is possible to turn that angry teen into a beautiful and responsible young person.
These other article detail anger management tips and anger management activities that can be used for teens and adults alike. And for the younger members of your family take a look at these Child Anger Management Tips.