If you are a mom of a teen you probably know that with the growing and changing years that follow puberty, anger can be a frequent emotion. While anger can sometimes be righteous, whether or not your teen’s anger is justified isn’t really the topic of this article. We have all been teens before and understand that sometimes teens just get angry because they are pushing boundaries, dealing with increasing responsibilities, or working through all of the hormonal changes happening to their bodies. And we all know that sometimes anger is righteous. However, what is causing their anger, while important to nail down if the behavior is disruptive to your family, is not the main focus here. What is the focus is how to help your teen get through the angry moments and begin to explore what their own triggers may be and how to manage them.
Dealing with your teen’s anger can be particularly daunting if you are a homeschooling parent. You’re not only the parent but also the teacher, counselor, nurse, and confidante. There are few breaks from your parenting role, and is is easy to allow issues with teen anger to overwhelm your entire family. Helping your teen manage their anger can be challenging, but it is doable with these steps.
Be empathetic without saying you know exactly how they feel.
Yes, you were once a teenager, but it’s not possible to know exactly what or how your child is feeling. Talking about your past experiences may help your child feel connected, but make sure you let them know that their individual emotions are their own. Support them by allowing them to talk and interject your own advice and experiences when they’re open to listening, usually after they have calmed down.
Allow for self-imposed timeouts.
Let’s be real. Sending your teen to the corner is no longer an effective punishment. However, allowing them to take a breather to keep their cool or calm down can alleviate some backlash that comes with angry outbursts. Pre-teach your teen that when they feel like they’re going to get upset at you, themselves, others, or even just at a situation, they can take five (or ten) minutes to go for a walk, have a glass of water or a snack, or listen to some music. Even a calming hot shower can be helpful. Chilling out can help stop the anger before it starts, or get their emotions in check rather quickly if they’ve seemingly passed the point of no return.
Write it down.
Encourage your child to use creative expression such as drawing or journaling as an outlet to channel their anger. Writing down feelings or illustrating them can be cathartic. Your teen may find solace in the written word or by drawing pictures to illustrate their frustrations. Let the journal be a private outlet for your teen but tell them that you’re open to them sharing if they feel comfortable.
Talk about triggers.
Pay attention to what seems to be a catalyst for your teen’s anger. Although it may not always be possible to pinpoint what triggers your child’s anger, you can both work to identify things that may easily make them upset. When those triggers arise, use some of the other strategies discussed or take a breather to diffuse the situation before it escalates.
When other ways don’t seem to help your child manage their anger, it may be time to seek counseling. Emphasize with your teen that talking about their feelings with someone outside the family or even getting medical help is not a weakness. In fact, seeking help is incredibly brave and can allow your child to find additional ways to take control of their own anger and sadness.
Helping your teen manage their anger can be overwhelming, especially when you are serving the role of both teacher and parent. Take some time to show your child that you care, but you also know that they may need space to work through their anger. These tips will help you and your child navigate through the tumultuous teen years, hopefully coming out on the other side with your relationship intact, and with your teen the holder of self-control in matters of anger.
Check out these books and materials to help your teen manage their anger.
Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-ExplorationThe Anger Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You DealChill Skills In a Jar®: Anger Management Tips for TeensColore Sketch Pad – Durable Sketching Paper And Notebook MaterialCrayola Colored Pencils, 50 Count Set, Pre-sharpened,Drawing Supplies,Vibrant Colors