How to Deal With Teen Anger
Do you remember what it was like to be a teenager?
To quote famed author Charles Dickens, for most of us, “…it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Part of being a teen is finding out who you are and developing your own identity. That can be a struggle, and in some cases, frustrating. That frustration can lead to anger. And that’s OK.
If you’re a parent/caregiver, there are ways you can help your child if they’re struggling.
There can be various reasons why your teenager is dealing with built-up anger. Finding the root cause and treating it can build a foundation to help with growth and give your teen management tools that can last a lifetime.
Remember, your support is key to their success. If they cannot manage their anger on their own, the first real step may be reaching out for help through a treatment program.
What Can Cause Anger Management Problems For Teens?
Let’s face it. Getting angry as a teenager doesn’t take much.
It could be for a variety of reasons, including:
- Feeling as if you’re being treated unfairly
- Going through physical changes and mood swings
- Personality traits
- Feeling like you have no control over things
There are so many changes and events that occur throughout your teen years. From starting middle and high school to getting your driver’s license to graduating and everything in between, there are so many variables just waiting to stress you out.
Some stressors that may contribute to anger include:
- Juggling responsibilities like school and work or sports
- Problems with friends
- Peer pressure
- Schoolwork or grades
- Changing schools or moving
- Financial problems in the family
- Having negative thoughts about themselves
- Living in an unsafe environment
- Body changes
In some cases, excessive anger in teens is referred to as an emotional disorder. For the most part, we’ve all interacted with someone who’s angry.
Some obvious and not-so-obvious symptoms of anger include:
- Fast heartbeat
- Chest tightness
- Clenching fists
- Tense muscles
- Unable to relax
- Easily irritated
- Starting fights
- Breaking things
Ways to Manage Anger
Some teenagers may either grow out of their angry state or learn to manage it on their own.
Anger is an emotion everyone feels at some point, but learning to control it is important.
As we’ve discussed, many things can trigger anger.
According to the New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH), if you’re feeling angry, it might be helpful to count to 100, leave the room, listen to music, do something active, or sit in a quiet place.
The NYCDOH also says, “Anger is experienced by everyone at some point, but it can be a difficult emotion to manage, particularly because we’re often taught not to show or express it. It’s not uncommon to feel guilty or ashamed about being angry despite it being a necessary emotion. It only becomes unhealthy when you express it in a way that hurts yourself or others. If you bottle up anger, you may find that it can come out in ways that you don’t expect. Becoming violent is never an option.”
If none of the previously mentioned tools work, professional treatment and support may be needed.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine says you may need help addressing your anger if you are:
- Getting into out-of-control arguments
- Threatening others
- Getting into trouble with the law due to anger
- Becoming violent or breaking things
If your teen is experiencing any of these things, seeking treatment is crucial.
What Else Do Teens Deal With?
In addition to problems with anger, teens may find themselves dealing with other mental health issues.
Unfortunately, many mental health and emotional disorders in teenagers go undiagnosed and untreated. The earlier these mental health disorders are treated, the better. They can learn how to better manage and treat their condition.
First and foremost, teens should be getting enough sleep, exercising, developing social skills, and learning to manage their emotions.
Some common mental health and emotional disorders include depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobias, and eating disorders. As mentioned earlier, since these conditions are stressors, they can also contribute to anger issues.
Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in younger people. Depression can be identified by the following:
- Loss of interest in activities
- Low self-esteem
- Excessive sleeping
- Repeated feelings of sadness
- Lack of interest in family and friends
- Slipping grades
- Feeling lonely
Another common mental health disorder is generalized anxiety disorder, which is defined as a condition that causes excessive and constant worry. Signs include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Unable to stop or control worry
- Difficulty concentrating
- Constantly feeling anxious
- Unable to relax
Social phobias involve extreme feelings of self-consciousness, anxiety, and insecurity in social settings. These can be recognized by:
- Fear or belief of being viewed negatively
- Fear of being judged in public
- Avoiding social situations
- Interrupting daily routine to avoid social situations
Eating disorders can also cause problems for teenagers. The most common eating disorders include binge eating (out-of-control eating), bulimia nervosa (periods of binge eating and then purging or over-exercising), and anorexia nervosa (avoiding food or severely restricting food).
Symptoms can include:
- Constant mention of being “fat” or “overweight”
- Consuming large amounts of food
- Going to the bathroom right after eating
- Secretly eating
- Skipping meals
Eating disorders can sometimes be combined with anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders.
Many Children Have a Mental Health, Emotional, or Behavioral Disorder
According to youth.gov, “A national and international literature review found that an average of 17% of young people experience an emotional, mental, or behavioral disorder.”
As mentioned earlier, many of these conditions go undiagnosed and untreated. As a parent/caregiver, it’s important to monitor any signs of distress mentioned in this blog.
The more opportunities children have for treatment and the earlier they receive it, the better chance they have of learning to combat the issue. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a dramatic impact in the lives of children with any of these disorders.
Neither you nor your child has to address these issues alone.
When Is Treatment Necessary?
Treatment is typically necessary when the symptoms discussed previously become noticeable, and when they’re causing a significant disturbance in your child’s daily life.
By seeking professional medical help, you are putting your child in a position to get the help they need that can put them on a path to fulfilling their emotional health needs. It’s also important to get a professional diagnosis for any condition or disorder you believe your child may have.
Whether your child has problems with anger or a mental health disorder, by seeking treatment promptly, you can ensure your child will learn to deal with these conditions now, which will only benefit them in the long run.
Seeking Help at SUN Behavioral Columbus
Seeking treatment for anger and mental health conditions can be helpful for both you and your child, especially if they cannot learn to manage them on their own.
At SUN Behavioral Columbus, we are here to meet the unmet needs of our patients. With our evidence-based adolescent therapy treatment to address mental health and mood disorders, we can help your child learn how to manage their condition. We define adolescent therapy as “the focus on identifying the underlying psychological issues that influence mental health and emotional distress. Once any emotional issues are identified, a therapist works with the adolescent to identify and enact healthy methods of coping and managing emotional distress.”
By using a combination of psychopharmacology (the use of medication to manage symptoms) and cognitive behavioral therapy (helping patients discover how to change their way of thinking), the goal is to make managing symptoms easier. We have a trained staff of psychiatrists and trauma-informed professionals ready to assist with treatment.
Here at SUN Behavioral Columbus, we also believe in empowering our patients to be the expert in their life. This includes being able to identify their needs and learning how to overcome obstacles.
To learn more about how we can help, call (614) 706-2786.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you help a teenager with anger issues?
If your child is feeling angry, it might be helpful to advise them to count to 100, leave the room, listen to music, do something active, or sit in a quiet place. If the anger persists and becomes more of a problem, seeking professional treatment is recommended.
What causes anger issues in a teenager?
Every teen is different, so their reasons for being angry may be unique. Some common reasons for being angry include feeling as though they are being treated unfairly, depression, going through physical changes and mood swings, personality traits, and feeling like they have no control over things. Remember, your child needs your support, and that is crucial to their success. Try to remain patient with them.
Why is my 15-year-old so angry?
Your child can be angry for many reasons. There are a variety of stressors at 15, such as starting high school, juggling school work and any extracurricular activities, bullying, peer pressure, financial problems in the family, and more. It’s important to maintain a line of communication with your child to stay up-to-date on any problems they’re having.