Feeling Like The Hulk: Here’s how to Manage Anger in Teens

Every human being experiences anger. Teenagers are even more prone to it because their bodies are changing rapidly and once they hit puberty, their system releases more hormones that they would have to slowly learn to get used to. Adolescence is a delicate age where most teens feel the world is either against them or on their shoulders. Many of them express these new changes in different ways, one of which is anger.

Anger is a normal emotion experienced by everyone but teenagers need to be taught how to control and express it in a healthy way so as to prevent build up of negative thoughts and emotions. Anger can often be difficult to handle, especially when one isn’t equipped with the right coping mechanisms and techniques.

Different people get angry for different reasons, some of which are:
I. Feeling misunderstood: Teenagers and people in general, often feel like they are not being heard or that their feelings and thoughts are misunderstood. Some of them hide behind anger as a coping mechanism to mask their vulnerability.
II. Anxiety: Anxiety sometimes makes people feel helpless. Some teenagers express their anxiety as anger, especially as they do not like to feel inadequate.
III. Depression: Teenagers generally have a hard time talking about their sadness and would often times prefer to stay angry.
IV. Trauma: Suppresed childhood trauma is also a common reason for unexplainable anger in teens.

Some physical symptoms of anger are:
– Increased heart rate
– Increased blood pressure
– Clenched jaw or fists
– Headache
– Muscle tension

Not all teens express anger healthily, some may unconsciously resort to less acceptable methods like:
– Physical attacks, throwing things, getting into fights.
– Verbal attacks with foul language
– Malicious gossip
– Intense, often rude sarcasm
– Prejudiced speech
– Substance abuse

Anger Management Techniques for Teens
It is important for you to let your teen know that their emotions matter and that you are willing to listen and help. You can help them manage their anger by:

  1. Teaching them the difference between feelings and behavior. They should be taught that their feelings are valid and welcome but aggressive behavior that can hurt themselves or other people are harmful and should be discouraged.
  2. Build Self-confidence: Encourage them and help them to feel better about themselves. Often times, teens may become angry at others because they are insecure and feel angry at themselves.
  3. Help your teen to identify when their emotions are getting out of control. Teach them to know when to take a step back from anger triggering situations. Model calm breathing and a gentle tone of voice to help them return to a calm state.
  4. Teaching problem solving skills: Teenagers do not like to feel inadequate in anyway. You could help your teen by teaching and showing them skills that will help them stay calm when they get agitated. These skills will help them to handle issues objectively.
  5. Helping them cope better: Anger can easily become aggression when the teen doesn’t know how to cope with it.

Seek professional help if you notice that your child is having significant difficulty managing anger.

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