Anger and Teens

teen walking down street

Understanding and Managing Teenage Anger: A Guide for Parents

Addressing a teenager’s anger as a parent can be difficult. Navigating this often turbulent time can be smoother by being aware of contributing factors, symptoms, and practical strategies. The part of the teenage brain responsible for impulse control and decision-making is still developing and not fully formed. Hormonal fluctuations combined with brain development might lead to annoyance and anxiety that may be expressed as anger.  

Teenage anger is a complicated and multifaceted problem that is impacted by a number of factors.  Since a teen’s relationships with their family and friends are so important to them, conflict with these individuals frequently has significant consequences.  Anger can also be sparked by bullying or peer pressure, particularly in social situations where fitting in is essential. Anger can result from major life events that upset a teen’s sense of security and stability, such as parents separating or switching schools. Teenagers’ perceptions of themselves and how they interact with others are impacted by low self-esteem, which is another factor that can lead to rage. 

Although anger is a natural emotion, it can create problems if it is uncontrollably or excessively expressed. Teenagers who engage in excessive arguments are likely to be troubled by conflict and disagreement perpetually.  More severe forms of rage involve assault or the threat of physical harm to others.  Severe mood swings, characterized by abrupt emotional ups and downs, may also indicate underlying anger management problems. A teen who engages in bullying is expressing their anger directly and using bullying as a means of controlling or manipulating their classmates. 

The following are some tips on how to better navigate your teen’s anger.

The Importance of Parental Boundaries and Consistent Enforcement

One of the most important considerations for parents is to help their teens develop clear limit setting. It’s crucial to provide a framework that allows kids to safely explore and grow, rather than just imposing rules and regulations.  These limits or boundaries offer kids clarity with what is and what is not acceptable within their environment. 

For such limits to be internalized, enforcement must be consistent. Adolescents start to absorb these rules when they face the same consequences for their actions on an ongoing basis.  The foundation for their moral and ethical understanding is established by this internalization. The knowledge of anticipated and predictable consequences gives teens a sense of stability and consistency. Parents who set clear and consistent guidelines for their teenagers are more likely to be trusted and respected by their children. A robust and healthy parent-teen connection depends on this trust.

Encourage Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Beyond its benefits to physical health, regular exercise is an effective way to regulate anger. Teenagers who participate in physical activities, particularly ones that require focus and concentration like team sports or martial arts, can find a healthy way to express their stress and reduce their irritability. For a teen’s emotional health, sleep hygiene is just as important as exercise. A lack of sleep can exacerbate stress and moodiness. The goal should be to get at least 9 hours of sleep every day, so it’s helpful to promote a regular sleep pattern. 

Seek Professional Help

Adolescent anger management requires knowing when to ask for support.  It’s critical to discern between more severe anger issues and normal teenage mood swings. It might be time to think about getting professional treatment if their anger starts to adversely impact their relationships or everyday life. One important tool for resolving these problems is therapy. Therapists are a great resource for anger management strategies, especially those that specialize in adolescents. Teens can explore the root causes of their anger in a non-judgmental, and safe atmosphere. They can acquire positive and healthy coping mechanisms in therapy, which is crucial for their emotional growth and well-being.

Anger Management for Teens: The Weekly Virtual Group

As a therapist with almost a thousand hours of experience working with teens, I understand the importance of providing a safe and supportive environment for them to explore their feelings of anger. That’s why I offer a weekly virtual group specifically designed for teen anger management. This group meets in the evening, providing a convenient time for adolescents to participate after their school day has ended.

In these sessions, we use a custom-made workbook “Anger Management Essentials (Teen Edition)” by Anita Avedian and Ingrid Caswell. This workbook is designed to meet the needs of teenagers who want to work on their anger issues. It contains 25 lessons that cover a range of topics, including understanding and managing anger, communication skills, developing healthy relationships, and more.

The goal of the sessions is not only to manage anger but to understand it. We aim to help teens recognize what triggers their anger, how they react, and how they can respond effectively. 

Managing teen anger is a complex task that requires understanding, patience, and the right tools. Our weekly Virtual group provides a comprehensive approach to help teens navigate their feelings of anger and develop healthier coping strategies.

A man with a beard standing in front of bushes.

Sipan Nazaryan

Sipan Nazaryan is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Anger Management Counselor with offices in Sherman Oaks and Glendale. He works with adults and teens providing a comfortable and confidential environment for in-person sessions and telehealth appointments. Sipan has helped numerous people manage their aggressive behavior and their mental health journey. He facilitates numerous weekly anger management classes. Fluent in both English and Armenian, Sipan brings a culturally sensitive approach to his practice, making him accessible to a broad range of individuals seeking mental health support.

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