You might remember being a teen ― having few concerns but more freedom than ever before, starting to form the rest of your life without committing to a career or life partner. However, few adults remember the confusion and fear of adolescence, the impression that you have no control over life and you never will. Many teens become overwhelmed by their changing bodies and changing responsibilities and lash out angrily against parents, friends, teachers, and strangers.
As a parent, it can be distressing to see your child upset, but before your teen’s volatile emotions transform into dangerous behavior ― to self or to others ― you should do all you can to help him or her work through this difficult time. Here are some solutions to help you give your teen the best opportunity to overcome adolescent anger and feel confident and enthusiastic about the future.
Watch for Triggers
Anger rarely develops without reason ― even if that reason seems nonsensical to you. Whenever your teen lashes out, you should consider contributing factors that might have triggered the outburst. Lack of sleep, poor diet, extra homework, social discord, and other seemingly minor events might trigger frustration that quickly blossoms into rage. By recognizing frequent causes of your teen’s anger, you can help him or her avoid them and lead a happier, healthier life.
Avoid Provoking Bad Behavior
Often, parents react to anger inappropriately, worsening their teens’ moods and provoking dangerous eruptions of rage. Even after your teen shows improvement, you should avoid committing acts that might reignite his or her anger. Here are a few behaviors you must consciously prevent if you want your teen to be happy and healthy:
• Curse, name-call, or otherwise tease your teen
• Threaten consequences for angry outbursts
• Use physical force to get your way
• Attempt to win an argument against your teen
Be Honest and Open
Teenagers tend to be self-centered ― and it’s no surprise why, seeing as though they have been the primary objects of your and others’ affections since they were born. Therefore, when life is no longer as easy as it once was, and they lash out with language, they often don’t recognize how their attitude and behavior are affecting those around them.
Whenever your teen does something that hurts you, emotionally or psychologically, you should let him or her know. Remaining calm and using a business-like tone, you should express your own fears, especially those that pertain to your child. There is no reason to avoid vulnerability with your own child; self-disclosing your struggles to communicate or your desires to be smarter, stronger, or prettier will help you establish a deeper connection with your teen and perhaps show him or her that he or she is not alone.
Ask Questions and Give Answers
Much of a teenager’s emotional struggle arises from confusion and fear, so the more you can dispel the bewildering aspects of life, the less your teen has to be angry about. Every day, you should schedule face-to-face time with your teen, to allow him or her to ask questions, vent, or otherwise communicate with you.
Mostly, all your teen wants is someone to listen; sometimes you can pipe in with advice or suggestions, but when you do, you must avoid lying at all costs, even to protect your child from perceived harsh realities. By furnishing your teen with facts about money, sex, health, careers, and other issues that plague adolescents, he or she will be better prepared to handle obstacles and feel angry less often when challenges arise.
Seek Professional Help
If your teen’s behavior escalates and you begin to become concerned, you might need to find professional help for your teen’s anger issues. School counselors and child psychiatrists might be able to isolate the cause of your teen’s wrath and prescribe therapy programs or medicine to combat the strong emotions.
However, some teens need round-the-clock rehabilitative care, and for that, you might consider a specialty boarding school. Equipped with programs designed to help troubled teens, such schools allow teens to take a break from the lives that are causing them anguish and refocus, helping them establish firmer foundations for the future. Institutions like Diamond Ranch Academy offer various lengths of stay and a wide range of therapies to address many mental and behavioral issues common in teens.