There is probably no greater problem facing moms and dads than dealing with angry teens.
Anger and learning to deal with anger is a necessary and important part of growing up. Rather than rely on techniques to manage your angry youngster, it seems to help a lot of moms and dads if they understand what makes kids act that way.
What Teens Say About Their Anger—
- "I get angry at my parents because they argue with each other. I don’t respect them."
- "I get angry because I love my parents and they act like they hate each other. How am I supposed to respect them when they act like that?"
- "I get angry when I have a lot of things on my mind that I can’t do anything about and then my parents ask me to do something when I’m already tired and over loaded."
- "I get angry when my parents are unfair and there’s no point in talking to them."
- "I get angry when my parents ask me how my day went. I’m trying to forget it and they make me remember it. I wouldn’t care if they didn’t make everything worse."
- "I get angry when my parents make me feel guilty for something that already happened. I get tired, bored and angry and I forget to do things that make it worse."
- "I get angry when there are other priorities, no time for me and I feel like I don’t matter."
- "I treat my parents the same way they treat me."
- "I’d rather be angry at my parents than feel afraid or feel hurt. I’d probably hurt myself if I wasn’t angry at them. That’s no excuse but that’s how I feel."
- "I’m not angry but my voice gets louder when I end up with more things on my mind that make me feel bad."
- "My parents are stupid. They don’t understand. They just say they do but they don’t. I can’t stand to be around them."
- "When my parents make me feel bad it reminds me of all the other times that people make me feel bad. I already don’t like myself and criticism just makes it worse."
What Can Parents Do?
What kids tell you is not necessarily the whole truth but there is always an element of truth. Just listening to your youngster and understanding what makes them angry can help in most cases. You don’t have to agree with your teenager but it helps to just listen and show your youngster that you care.
There can be no simple solution when facing an angry youngster. It is not fair or even effective to expect moms and dads to avoid upsetting their teenager. Once your child gets angry, you can’t always make it better. But unfortunately moms and dads can make it worse and even reinforce angry behavior if they shout, insult or argue back. Sometimes the best we can do is to not make it worse and then deal with a youngster’s anger at a better time in a fair and effective manner. Giving kids a consequence later when you are not upset and they are not upset is always best. They may get upset later but at least your punishment was not given out of anger. Kids are less likely to "get even" later if you don’t punish them when you are angry.
Kids typically have a lot of expectations that they have not examined rationally. Changing our expectations is not easy – especially when we are used to getting what we want. But the fact is, the best time to explore your youngster’s expectations is not when they are upset. Lecturing an upset teenager or anyone who is upset for that matter is not a "teachable moment". Exploring and gently challenging a youngster’s expectations when they are calm is best. The key is to explore your youngster’s expectations before they get upset and then help correct any errors.
Some kids are just plain temperamental no matter what you do. Others kids are easily frustrated no matter what happens. But the underlying reason is almost always this. Kids become angry when they are frustrated and they assume they are being picked on, treated unfairly or made to feel bad on purpose. They get angry because anger is often the only way they know how to escape or avoid feeling sad, hurt, afraid or out of control. Blaming others and ignoring their own behavior is a clear sign of an insecure youngster. Insecure kids with low self-esteem feel better when they are angry and blaming other people. Any teenager who is extremely angry at their self can become self-destructive, create failure or think about suicide. It is a sad reality, but anger at the world is not nearly as depressing as feeling like a failure with no excuses.
For help with angry teens, download your copy of the "My Out-of-Control Teen" eBook today…