Future Expectations Today

Dealing with Anger in Your Troubled Teen


If you are the parent of a troubled teen who is violent, aggressive, or angry, you may know what it is like to live in a constant state of fear. Every knock on your door or phone call may bring news that your child has been injured or has caused serious harm to someone else. While both teenage girls and boys can exhibit anger, girls generally express it verbally while unmanageable teen boys are significantly more likely to act out in violence. Some may also direct their rage toward their family, which can be an extremely unsettling and upsetting experience.

Anger is a challenging emotion for most teens, and it can often mask underlying issues. When teens are not able to cope properly with underlying feelings they can lash out, and this can put themselves and the people around them at risk. Many teenage boys have difficulty in recognizing what they are feeling, and expressing these feelings or asking for help is even more difficult.

As the parent, you have the challenging responsibility to try and help your teenager to cope with his or her emotions and to deal with the anger they are experiencing in a constructive way. Some tips for dealing with this anger include the following:

  • Uncover Underlying Issues. Talk to your child to try and discover what underlying issues may be bothering her. Perhaps she is sad or depressed due to an issue at school. She may just need you to listen to her without judgment.
  • Lay Out Rules and Consequences. When both you and your child are calm, explain to her that feelings of anger are common but there are acceptable ways to express it. If she continues to lash out, let her know that a loss of privileges will take place, and this can even include police involvement if necessary.
  • Help Your Child to Find a Healthy Way to Relieve His Anger. There are a variety of ways for teens to help relieve their anger and tension, including team sports or exercise. Writing, art, playing music, or dancing can all be stress relievers, as well. Additionally, troubled teen programs also exist to provide teens the opportunity to talk about their problems with others in a non-threatening environment.
  • Allow Your Teen Space. When he is angry, allow the teen to retreat to a safe place to cool off. While he is still in his rage, donít follow him and demand explanations or apologies, as this will escalate or prolong the anger. Wait until his emotions have died down before approaching the situation.

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