Like all emotions, anger is a perfectly normal feeling that we all experience on a regular basis. Anger is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s how we deal with our anger that truly matters. Teenagers are at a pivotal stage of their mental and physical development when their hormones are running rampant, often making it difficult for them to manage their emotions. As a result, they may sometimes express their emotions—especially anger—inappropriately. Sometimes, there’s a fine line between expressing anger in a healthy way and becoming too aggressive. If you believe your teen often veers onto the latter half of the spectrum, then they may benefit from anger management for teens.
Coping with Anger: How You Can Help Your Teen
There are plenty of effective anger management services and techniques your teen can use to cope with their often confusing and aggressive emotions. Keep in mind that not every coping mechanism will necessarily work for your teen and that part of your job as their parent is to practice patience as you help them identify the ones that do.
Start by implementing a few of these techniques in your interactions with your teen.
Lay Some Ground Rules for Anger Expression
Everyone expresses their anger in different ways. Some people tend to remain calm while effectively communicating the fact that something or someone is angering them. Others tend to immediately lash out or “fly off the handle” using aggressive language or physical behaviour. Given the right circumstances, both can constitute healthy expressions of anger. However, it’s important to read the situation to determine if your teen is expressing their anger in a healthy way. Cursing, threatening, and acting out in a violent manner are unacceptable. Help your teen find acceptable, yet effective ways of coping with their anger.
Act as a Role Model for Your Teen
Young adolescent minds soak up pretty much everything like a sponge. So if your teenager sees you acting out when you’re angry, it’s very likely they’re going to mimic that behaviour because they view it as acceptable. Teach your teen healthy coping mechanisms to deal with their anger properly. Encourage them to talk openly and directly about their feelings without being disrespectful to you or other people. In the process, you’re also instilling productive communication skills in them that they can carry forward into all aspects of their lives.
Useful Skills to Help Teens Manage Their Anger
Certain techniques can help teens skillfully manage their anger without suppressing or bottling it up. Here are some proven techniques your teen can try:
Taking the time to help your teen analyze, talk about, and understand their anger can help them figure out exactly what’s causing it. Once the source of their anger is identified, they can figure out appropriate coping mechanisms. We all get irritated or feel rage from time to time, however, anger that seems misplaced may be associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental health difficulties. It is important to get to the root of the issue rather than continuing to ignore it and let it build up.
Using the Right Words to Express Their Anger
Healthy verbal expression of anger is well-rounded. Tone and the language we use when talking about what’s bothering us matters. It’s perfectly acceptable to let other people know when you’re angry with them or about something, however, try to be tactful and respectful throughout the interaction.
Yelling and cursing might feel good in the moment, but it’s not an effective communication method and, in the end, it’ll most likely just end up hurting the person on the receiving end. How you and your teen interact with one another at home is a reflection of how you both interact with others outside of the home. That’s why it’s extremely important to teach your kids how to deal with their anger in a way that allows them to remain in control.
Exhalation and Meditation
Sometimes, it pays to step away from a certain stressful situation and just take a breather before you end up saying or doing something you might regret later on. Encourage your teen to do just that. Whenever they feel themselves getting overly wound up over something someone said or did, it helps to breathe in and out to clear their minds.
Meditation is a versatile and immersive form of self-care. Unlike popular belief, you don’t have to be sitting in a quiet room all by yourself in order to meditate. Meditation can be done pretty much anytime and anywhere. All it takes is a few minutes and some deep cleansing breaths to help you clear your mind and calm your nerves. If you’re not sure where to begin, there are a few helpful apps you can download on your phone that offer a wide selection of meditation services.
Use Exercise and Music as a Form of Anger Therapy
Going for a long-distance jog, lifting weights, and strengthening your physical endurance can be very rewarding during those times when you’re feeling uncontrollable anger. Not only is exercise great for releasing your anger, but it can also give you a great sense of purpose because you’re working toward improving your physical and mental well-being. Physical exercise also releases endorphins, which can improve sleep, mental health, and make you feel happy.
Combining regular exercise with music that makes you feel good can push you to perform your absolute best while working out. That type of motivation is also crucial for helping you work on other aspects of your life and focusing on your mental health.
Recognize when Your Teen Needs Professional Help
While this isn’t a comprehensive list of all potential anger management strategies, it’s a good place to start with your teen. If you feel as if you need a little extra support to help your teen deal with their anger, then consider enrolling them in psychotherapy sessions at Growth Counselling Services. My name is Rick Defoe and I offer professional child and teen counselling to families who are seeking support. To learn more about our services, please contact me to schedule an appointment.