Teenage anger can be frightening. Parents find toddler tantrums hard enough to deal with, but when their child becomes taller than they are, and throws their weight around it is time for some serious thought into how to manage the situation.
It may be useful to imagine their anger as a balloon. Many things happen which put air into the balloon. What we need to work on is ways to deflate the balloon without it bursting, so here are some ideas on how to help our teens keep their anger under control.
- Model good anger management. Make sure when you are angry that you express it appropriately and ask assertively for what you want to change the situation. Talk to your teen about how you cope with angry feelings and what you do to release them
- Help teens to express anger appropriately and how to manage angry feelings. Tell them that it is Ok to be angry, but not to harm people or property. Talk about all the different ways people manage their anger and find what works for them. It could be punching a punch-bag or pillow, going to the gym or doing some vigorous exercise. It may be retreating to their room and listening to music, or a relaxation CD. It could be saying a mantra in their head such as ‘keep calm’, ‘I can stay in control’ or ‘I can handle it’. Alternatively they might imagine a pause button on a remote control and physically press it. It is important that teenagers have somewhere private to go to when they feel angry. If they have to share a bedroom you may need to plan ahead for when they need some time alone.
- Be aware of other influences not just home life. Parents often feel that the behaviour of their teen is a reflection on their (poor) parenting. Remember that your teen spends much of their time with friends and other teens. Take any angry outbursts seriously but don’t take it personally and blame yourself. Some of the nicest parents have problem teenagers.
- Have rules, rewards and consequences. If you are a single parent you can do this on your own, or discuss them with other adults you respect. If you are a couple, you can do this together. Work out what rules are really important to you. Work out the benefits to your teen for sticking to the rules and the consequences if they don’t. Make sure the consequences are fair and appropriate (such as not having time to do things for them if they don’t help out, clearing up any mess they make or buying cheap, value food if money goes missing from your purse!) Try to have no more than ten rules at any one time- but they can change over time. Comment when you notice your teen sticking to the rules. Let the consequences do the talking when they don’t. Sympathise when your teen has to suffer the consequences. You can let the rules be the ‘bad guy’ and you can empathise and commiserate with them when they don’t get it right. (But no patronising, sarcasm, criticism or nagging –just natural consequences for poor behaviour).
- Discipline with Rewards. Don’t forget the rewards when your teens do behave the way you want! Make the rewards something that really appeals to your teenager without compromising your values. Rewards can be a powerful motivator and much more positive than consequences.
– Elizabeth @ parent4sucess.com
Read More: 20 Ways to Help Teenagers Handle Their Anger