Teen Anger – 7 Ways Parents Can Help Their Angry Teenager Cope
An Angry teen or tween is like a volcano ready to erupt. With so many hormonal changes occurring inside their bodies, their brains tend to overreact, and their emotions override rational thoughts.
But the irony is that during these moments of anger, we parents start behaving like them, forgetting that our brains are fully developed, and we need to be rational. Managing an Angry Teenager is a tough task but not an impossible one, provided we can find out the underlying reason for that behaviour and address it.
The reasons for a teen’s angry behaviour can be very different from what they appear to be. Let us understand some of these before we get into actually managing teen anger.
What Causes Anger Issues in a Teenager?
I want to share this very useful article with you on how a teen brain functions and its level of maturity. We all know that in the teenage years, the brain is still developing; hence expecting teenagers to be rational and practical like adults is not fair. This certainly explains the sudden outbursts and the sometimes erratic behaviours of our teenagers.
Now let’s get into the not-so-obvious emotions driving an angry teen.
1. Misplaced irritation
Often, a teen’s anger is due to misplaced irritation caused by lack of sleep, anxiety, and stress at school. The teen may feel agitated and helpless, which comes out in their behaviour, especially towards the parents.
Teens of today live in a very uncertain and complex world. They have a plethora of choices for what they want to do, and these change every day.
They are the citizens of the social media world, which dictates how one should eat, sleep, dress, and lead their lives. Terms like Cyber Bullying, FOMO, Body-Shaming & Imposter Syndrome are things happening in our world & maybe closer to home.
They have set high standards for themselves wrt their social image, and they strive to achieve that. Any shortcomings lead to frustration and hence self-inflicted anger.
I must acknowledge here that today’s teens are also very conscious about their academic performance, especially in high school and have their dream universities shortlisted. However, the flip side to this is also the constant self-doubt about whether they will be able to get their desired grades. This, in turn, may lead to anger in case their school grades dip or are not as per their expectations.
4. Mood Swings
I have two daughters, one in their mid-teens and the other early teens. As a mother in her pre-menopausal stage, there are multiple people with mood swings in the same house; therefore, the situation can be hilarious or disastrous at the same time. Mood swings are just that … mood swings, and I have a blog dedicated to this. Read here.
5. Sibling Rivalry
If you have more than one kid, then a tiff with a sibling or a comparison may lead to one of them getting angry. As parents, we need to keep an eye on our behaviours towards our kids so that it does not lead to a situation like this. Yes, I am saying that many times parents are responsible for sibling rivalry. Read here to find out how. Read here to find out how.
Now that we know what can be the underlying reasons for anger in teenagers, here are some strategies that I have found useful in managing my angry teenager.
- Teen Anger – 7 Ways Parents Can Help Their Angry Teenager Cope
- What Causes Anger Issues in a Teenager?
- 7 Ways To Deal With an Angry Teenager
- 7 Useful Tips To Deal With Angry Teenager That You Need To Know
- More Parenting Posts
7 Ways To Deal With an Angry Teenager
1. Don’t Hear To Respond, Listen To Understand
An angry teen reacts in two extreme ways. They may either retreat into their shell or would want you to lend an ear to listen while they go through their speech. This outburst can be full of emotions with or without volume control.
The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand; we listen to reply. I reiterate- Listen & observe without interruption and without being judgemental. Resist the urge to give solutions immediately.
It would be best if you fathomed which of the above reasons are driving this anger. Your teen may be saying or behaving in a certain way, but his body language & the underlying emotion may be totally different from what is apparent. As a parent, we should be able to isolate that emotion and work upon that. This will ensure that the behaviour changes and does not repeat.
2. Empathize With Your Teen
The biggest mistake you can make is telling your teen that they are getting angry for a trivial reason. So many times, when I tried saying that, they retorted, saying that the issue may be trivial for me but not for them. That’s the end of the conversation and any hope you have to help resolve the issue.
And that’s so true as at their age their priorities are different and hence their challenges. Remember, don’t question their anger. This will be seen as you are invalidating their feelings, hurting them and forcing them further into their shell.
Words like “ I understand how you feel” or “ If I were in your place, I would probably feel the same” will give them the comfort that you understand what they are going through and open out the channel of communication.
3. Reason Out With Your Teen
Now that you have hopefully isolated the underlying problem, you need to work on reasoning out with them. Sometimes it may be just the hormones playing up, while other times, there may be a genuine issue. In both cases, you should encourage the teen to look at the issue on hand from different perspectives. Maybe sharing yours can be a beginning.
However, this has to be done gently and in a very non-authoritative way. You can do this by way of sharing your life anecdotes with similar undertones so that they feel that they are not the only ones singled out by destiny. But a word of caution here, let’s not be preachy as it will immediately put off the teen, and they will become defensive.
Remember, you are not only looking at managing your angry teen at that moment but also equipping them with skills that will prepare them to cope with a similar situation in future. Teenage years are also a good learning ground and will shape their behaviour as an adult.
4. Anger Cannot Be Pacified By Anger
I am guilty of this and must put down this point. As a mom, so many times, I feel frustrated explaining the same logic to my teen. As a result, I lose patience which may lead to me raising my voice. My daughter calls it “Passive-aggressive behaviour”.
Passive-aggressive behaviours are those that involve acting indirectly aggressive rather than directly aggressive. As mothers, we are used to displaying this behaviour unknowingly. While we feel we are not getting angry, our body language speaks a different story, and our teens are sharp enough to catch these teens.
So, moms, make sure your behaviour is not adding fuel to the fire unknowingly. Watch your words and the tone.
5. Good Cop Bad Cop
What if you are the bad cop this time, and the teen is angry at you for something you did or did not do. Then call upon your spouse to be the listening ear. Let your teen rant, complain and give a vent to their anger on you with him.
Many times you may have triggered one or more of the 5 emotions stated earlier, and hence their reaction is anger. Getting a neutral person to look at a situation objectively can help ease the tension.
A word of caution here, though. Sometimes your teen may have confided in you, and then they may not want you to share anything even with your spouse. In that case, you should respect their word and maintain confidentiality. However, you may be forced to take a call otherwise, depending on the gravity of the issue and the long term impact on your teen.
6. Don’t Leave Issues Unresolved
Be Persistent but unobtrusively. Don’t breathe down your teen’s neck to the extent that they shut you out completely. But at the same time, try to understand the deep underlying emotion which is driving that behaviour.
Anger is just a symptom; if you need to treat the problem, you need to know what’s causing it. This is because till the root cause is treated, symptoms will keep on recurring. Once you have identified the root cause, you may decide to treat it yourself or take the help of a therapist.
7. Accept That You Cannot Solve All Your Teen’s Problems
As I mentioned initially, teenage years are very delicate and complex years where our kids are undergoing a sea change in their mental and physical makeup. They are discovering new things about themselves and the world, which can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. They want to be so many things, do so many things and lead so many lives in a lifetime.
Thus their degree of problems can vary and also the solutions. And as parents, we may not know all the things going on in their head though we try to. Sometimes they need time to sort things themselves, and we need to be just around in case they need us. So it may be worthwhile to leave them alone sometimes to sort things but keep point no 6 in mind.
Look out for any signs that may indicate that the issue is still simmering in their heads and leading to the manifestation of angry behaviour.
I strongly believe that nobody makes you angry; you decide to use anger as a response. And with a teenage brain which still developing and maturing, this repones is impulsive without considering the potential results of their decisions.
Therefore the onus is on us as parents to channelise this impulsive behaviour into a more objective, mature and practical response each time, every time. We can do it provided we have the willpower to control our responses because children learn from what they see.
Here’s wishing you Peaceful Parenting, Guys!
If you found these tips useful, then please share this blog with all other parents you know.
A big thanks to my sister Dr Minni Chadha for the artwork on the blog header and my lovely teen daughters for teaching me important lessons in life.
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7 Useful Tips To Deal With Angry Teenager That You Need To Know
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