Sue Scheff: Anger Management and Your Teens
"All my friends are allowed to stay out late; you are mean and want to ruin my life!"
"You have no idea how I feel and you are only making it worse!"
When a difficult teen is out of control, they only can hear themselves and what they want. It is usually their way or no way! There are so many factors that can contribute to these feelings. The feelings are very real and should be addressed as soon as you see that your child is starting to run the household. Teen anger may lead to teen rage and teen violence which can soon destroy a family.
A local therapist can help your family diagnosis what is causing the negative behavior patterns. Conduct Disorder or Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) is some of the many causes to this harmful and stressful behavior. Many times you will find a need for a positive and safe program either local or outside your home are that can help determine where these hurtful outbursts are stemming from.
As difficult as this may seem, it is important that as your teen is expressing these feeling of anger and rage, that you as the parent learn to control your emotions. You don't want to fuel it or feed it which can potentially enrage it.
Here are some tips for parents to learn to help manage their stress level as their teens is spiraling out of control:
- Take a 'timeout.' Although it may seem cliché, counting to 10 before reacting really can defuse your temper.
- Get some space. Take a break from the person you're angry with until your frustrations subside a bit.
- Once you're calm, express your anger. It's healthy to express your frustration in a nonconfrontational way. Stewing about it can make the situation worse.
- Get some exercise. Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you're about to erupt. Go for a brisk walk or a run, swim, lift weights or shoot baskets.
- Think carefully before you say anything. Otherwise, you're likely to say something you'll regret. It can be helpful to write down what you want to say so that you can stick to the issues. When you're angry, it's easy to get sidetracked.
- Identify solutions to the situation. Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work with the person who angered you to resolve the issue at hand.
- Use 'I' statements when describing the problem. This will help you to avoid criticizing or placing blame, which can make the other person angry or resentful - and increase tension. For instance, say, "I'm upset you didn't help with the housework this evening," instead of, "You should have helped with the housework."
- Don't hold a grudge. If you can forgive the other person, it will help you both. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want.
- Use humor to release tensions. Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don't use sarcasm, though - it's can hurt feelings and make things worse.
- Practice relaxation skills. Learning skills to relax and de-stress can also help control your temper when it may flare up. Practice deep-breathing exercises, visualize a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself, such as "Take it easy." Other proven ways to ease anger include listening to music, writing in a journal and doing yoga.
Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.
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