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Teenage Anger

By on Mar 22, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Teen anger takes many forms. It may be expressed as indignation and resentment, or rage and fury. It is the expression of teenage anger — the behaviour— that we see. Some teens may repress their anger and withdraw; others may be more defiant and destroy property.
They will continue their behaviour, or it may escalate, until they decide to look within themselves to the roots of their anger. However, teenage anger is a feeling, an emotion, not a behaviour. And anger is usually caused by something going on in a teen’s life.
Teen anger can be a frightening emotion, however, it is not inherently harmful. Its negative expressions can include physical and verbal violence, prejudice, malicious gossip, antisocial behavior, sarcasm, addictions, withdrawal, and psychosomatic disorders. These negative expressions of teenage anger can devastate lives, destroying relationships, harming others, disrupting work at school, clouding effective thinking, affecting physical health, and ruining futures. There is a positive aspect to such expression, as it can show others that a problem exists. Teenage anger is usually a secondary emotion brought on by fear. It can motivate a person to resolve those things that are not working in their life and help them face their issues and deal with the underlying reasons for the anger, specifically things such as:
Abuse
Alcohol and/or substance
abuse
Anxiety
Depression
Grief
Trauma
Teenagers face a lot of emotional issues during this period of development. They’re faced with questions of identity, separation, relationships, and purpose. The relationship between teens and their parents is also changing as teens become more and more independent. Parents often have a difficult time dealing with their teen’s newfound independence. This can bring about frustration and confusion that can lead to anger and a pattern of reactive behavior for both parents and teens.
That is, teens are simply negatively reacting to their parent’s behaviors, and parents react back in an equally negative manner. This sets up a self-reinforcing pattern of interaction. Unless you work to change your own behavior, you cannot help another change theirs. You need to respond rather than react to each other and to situations. The intention is not to deny the anger, it is to control that emotion and find a way to express it in a productive or at least, a less harmful, manner.
Parents who have a teenager dealing with anger can ask these questions of them to help bring about greater awareness.
Be compassionate and make sure you have undistracted time to focus and listen.
Don’t dig if you want answers!
Are you aware of anger’s physical signals (e.g., clenching fists, shortness of breath, sweating) and do you have any of these? Are you reacting to hurt, loss, or fear?
Are you communicating effectively?
Are you focusing on what has been done to you rather than what you can do?
Are you using anger as a way to isolate yourself, or as a way to intimidate others?
Do your emotions control you, or do you control your emotions?
Do your thoughts begin with absolutes such as “must,” “should,” “never?”
Are your expectations unreasonable?
How are you accountable for how your anger shows up?
How are you accountable for what you are feeling?
How do you choose to express your anger?
To whom or what is your anger directed?
What unresolved conflict are you facing?
Where does this anger come from?
What situations bring out this feeling of anger?
So what can teens and parents do? Listen to your teen and focus on feelings. Understand the situation from their perspective.
Blaming and accusing only builds up more walls and ends all communication. Tell them how you feel, stick to facts, and deal with the present moment.
Show that you care and show your love. Work toward a solution where everyone gets something, and therefore feels okay about the resolution. Remember that anger is the feeling and behavior is the choice.
Sejal Desai

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