Anger in teenagers can come from several different places. It may be that they simply don't get what they want. They may have a brother or a sister who broke one of their things. Or they are experiencing shifts in hormones and they may seem angry for "no apparent reason".
In these cases, it can be normal for a teenager to be upset. The teenager may display this anger by arguing, storming off, slamming a door, yelling, etc. But typically, the anger subsides and the angsty teenager calms and returns to your happy, loving teen.
When anger becomes a problem is when the intensity, frequency, and duration are higher or more than typical. Anger also becomes as problem when a person lashes out as people or property.
When anger becomes a problem, relationships are impacted. Relationships at home, at school, and with friends. And the more the relationships are impacted, the more frustrated the teenager can become. And the more frustration, the more chances of anger.
A parent can feel helpless and frustrated when they have a teen who struggles with anger management. Consequences don't seem to be effective. Bribes and rewards have little effect. But there are things that teenagers and parents can do to help teenagers who struggle with anger management.
Below are a few of the tips and techniques that have helped other teenagers learn to manage their anger so their anger isn't managing them.
Tips & Techniques to Help Teenagers Manage Their Anger
Learning to manage anger is a skill that anyone can learn. It does take time, consistency, effort, and a healthy dose of patience. You are training the brain to help rewire its automatic emotional response to outside stimuli. Just like any other habit, it will work if you work it.
Help Your Teen Identify Their Anger Triggers
For teenagers, learning to manage emotions becomes complicated if you don't first understand the emotion. Anger doesn't simply appear out of nowhere. There are triggers that will evoke an anger response.
Some triggers are easy to spot, for example:
Being told "No"
Not getting what they want
Being teased or bullied
Other triggers may not be so easy to spot as the source of the anger, for example:
Not getting enough sleep at night
Feeling rushed for things
Once you are able to identify the trigger, you can then come up with an action plan. If your teenager has difficulty managing their anger due to lack of sleep, adjust the sleep schedule to help.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communication is not just for the parents, it's important that the teen communicate what they are feeling and experiencing. Even if as a teenager you may not know how to describe or define it, start talking about it with your parents.
Parents may be able to help you put to words what you are trying to describe. They have been teenagers themselves. And chances are if you are having trouble controlling your anger, one of your parents or their parents may have had similar challenges.
Communication is helpful as your parents can't help unless they know what the problem is. When you are able to identify your triggers, talk with your parents and others that you trust on ways to avoid those triggers. If the triggers are unavoidable, talk with them on ways to prepare for those triggers so you don't have an angry outburst.
Learn & Practice Empathy
Empathy is putting yourself in another's shoes. In doing so, you imagine what they may be feeling or experiencing.
The vast majority of teens we work with in teen counseling for anger want to change. They love their parents, their siblings, and friends. They are tired of being labeled the "problem child" at school.
These teens have the ability to learn more about and practice empathy. A teenager putting themselves in the shoes of the target of their anger may help them gain a new perspective.
Also communicating appropriately with your teenager about how their anger makes you feel can help. But do this in a way that is helpful and supportive, not blaming or shaming.
Count to 10
There I am on a forklift moving coils of wire rope from outside to inside the warehouse. When driving a forklift, you always, ALWAYS drive with the forks lowered. This is forklift driving 101.
I was driving and forgot to put the forks down. Let me tell you, a forklift can do some major damage to a warehouse garage door that is only halfway up!
I immediately looked over at my boss. His face immediately went a shade of red that I had never seen on a human being before. I could tell that he wanted to share some of his thoughts about me at that moment.
But, instead, he stormed off, went to another room, and cooled down. It was 30 minutes later that I had a conversation with him. He didn't yell, scream, or express anger. Frustration, irritation, sure. But not anger.
When you are working hard to manage your anger. Sometimes the best thing to do is leave the situation, go to another room, and calm. Parents, it's important that when a teenager is implementing this approach, to let them.
It doesn't mean that we avoid the conversation. We just let time pass to let emotions settle before having that conversation.
Counting to 10, count to 20, take 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes or a day. Just be sure to return to have a conversation with that person.
Teen Counseling for Anger Management
There are as many skills and techniques to manage anger as there are people who need it. Each teenager brings their own unique life experience. Each teenager brings their own unique set of strengths.
In teen counseling, we can help teenagers identify those skills and techniques that can help them learn to manage their anger so their anger doesn't manage them. We also will teach the parents in family therapy what we are teaching the teen so that the parents can support the teen in the home.
Teen therapy can also help the teenager resolve any core issues that may be triggering this anger response. Sometimes, teens may not talk to their parents about being bullied at school. About their feeling of not measuring up. Or not fitting in with other in school.
In teen counseling, we explore these challenges and help take away the toxic feelings associated with them. This frees the teen up to be a happier, healthier teenager.
One symptom of teen depression is anger. This is particularly true with teen boys. Anger can also come from other challenges like depression, anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD/ADD, trauma, or PTSD.
If your teen is struggling, don't wait, reach out to a teen counselor today.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Providing Teen & Young Adult Counseling for Anxiety in Katy, Tx & Houston
We use those approaches that are supported by research and have shown to be effective. We want to help you and your family overcome the challenges that anger places in your way.
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we provide a variety of therapy approaches that are supported by research and shown to be effective. Some of the teen therapy and young adult counseling we offer are:
Board Certified Neurofeedback Therapy
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Group Therapy for Teens
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling
To succeed in any relationship takes work. This is a common understanding that many of us have.
However, sometimes life will throw challenges at us that create situations that put strain on our marriage or relationship. It may be due to:
Choices and actions that have been made by one partner.
Financial downturn in the economy creating financial strain.
Feeling like you're growing apart.
Feeling like you don't have as much in common as you used to.
About the Author
Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker - Supervisor (LCSW-S), Board Certified in Neurofeedback, EMDR trained, and a Certified Brain Health Professional through the Amen Clinics. He has provided therapy to teens, young adults, and families since 2003 and is the Owner & Lead Clinician at Katy Teen & Family Counseling.
He specializes in leading teams of high performing therapists who also specialize in teen therapy, counseling young adults, and family counseling.
Jason is also a leader in the field of teen, young adult, and family counseling providing coaching and technical assistance to teen Residential Treatment Centers across the country.
Jason is also a regular contributor to various magazines and publications lending his expertise to various mental health related topics. You can check these articles out on our "Featured Articles" service page on our website.
If you are ready to start teen counseling or young adult therapy call, text, or email us today!
Phone Number: 281-519-6364