How To Deal With Teenage Anger

Dealing with teenage emotions is perhaps a greater challenge for parents and elders in the family than it is for the teenagers themselves. A teenage boy or girl at home can turn life into a never-ending drama of anger, depression, apathy, and euphoria. Sometimes this is made worse by issues like low self esteem, lying, drug abuse, or pregnancy. While the teenager as a matter of course goes on to find balance and stability, the way parents and elders deal with this issue can have long term effects on the personality of the teenager as he goes into adulthood. In this post, guest blogger Angelita Williams returns to Subho's Jejune Diet to look at the three ground rules for dealing with teenage anger and tantrums.

3 Simple Ways to Handle your Teen's Tantrums

Teenagers - one minute they're laughing on the phone with their best friend, the next they're slamming the bedroom door screaming, "I hate you." Teenagers are moody creatures. They misinterpret emotions, don't understand consequences, and pretty much assume the entire world is against them. Talk about attitude.


While their anger and mood swings are frustrating, it’s not entirely their fault. Raging hormones and a work-in-progress prefrontal cortex - the part of the brain that controls our understanding of moderation, consequences, impulse control, and deciphering body language – are partly to blame, according to experts. But just because their temporary bipolar, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide personalities can be explained by science doesn't mean parents should just dismiss irrational behavior and give them a free pass. After all, the way they learn to deal with their emotions now will follow them in the future. That said, here are three tested tips to help you "deal" with your teenager's temper tantrum the right way.



1. Give Warnings, Not Threats
Teenagers do not respond well to threats. They find threats to be a challenge and sometimes do precisely what they're told "not to do" just "because." But instead of threatening your teen that if he or she disobeys or acts out, x,y,z will happen, tell him or her about potential consequences in a matter-of-fact way so that they understand that you're not bluffing. Teens often respond better to nonchalant statements such as, "ok, just know that if you disobey your phone will be taken away." Of course, your teen will only realize that you mean business if you actually come through on your promise if he or she disobeys. For extreme cases, you might want to consider establishing a behavioral contract with your teen - something that says in writing if your child disobeys you, the mentioned consequences will happen.

2. Keep Your Cool 
Even if you feel as though your blood is about to boil, it's important that you don't get too emotional and keep your own temper in check. This is because teenagers thrive on power struggles. If you yell, this will only prompt your teen to react in the same fashion. Instead, you need to find a way to express your displeasure with your child by using your words in a calm manner—this will also significantly reduce any misunderstandings between you and your child. For example, if your teen comes home late and doesn't call to tell you so, try not to blow off the hinges the second he or she walks in the door. Instead, in a calm manner express to your child how his or her irresponsibility has made you feel: "I'm not angry, but I do worry when you don't call or pick up your phone," Or, "I'm not mad, but it does irritate me when I ask you to pick up your clothes and you don't."

3. Avoid, 'Because I said So'
Finally, you need to learn how to openly communicate with your teen. When denying a request, avoid simply saying "because I said so." This will surely stir up tempers. Instead, make sure to always explain why you won’t allow your teen to do something, again, in a calm manner. Chances are if you take the time to thoroughly explain why you don't feel comfortable lending your 16-year-old your car at midnight, he or she won't ask you about it again. But if you angrily said, "Because I said so" you might never hear the end of it.
Teenagers can sometimes be like human landmines—you never know when they might blow. But the above tips should be able to help you handle the situation a little bit easier.

23 comments:

  1. manjudasgupta11:26 PM

    i am glad that i am the first one to comment .Why teenagers ? only yesterday i phoned to talk to my 5 yr old granddaughter Mihika . She did not pick up the phone because she was busy bargaining with her mother about having something . I take my hats off to her mother mim because without raising her voice calmly she said that " i wd be a bad mother if i gv you that " I dont know what finally happen . But the way Mihika was pressing forward her demand is exactly how a teenager will do . I thing the word teen should mean any intelligent child of teen(three)years . I am mighty glad that my children are in their thirties and forties . MDG

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  2. Ah.. this is a favorite topic of mine! Yes, teens do react badly to power- I am witness to that because that is what my mother tried to do - impose her will upon me. Even today, many of the things that I do are driven more by the fact that mother had some opinion about that and I want to show her that it possible to survive doing it. But that was a different generation. Today's teens have to be handled differently- they need their space. So I give my daughter her space but she knows that there are some areas where "space" is not a negotiable option because she has not earned it. I realize that now she knows what she can get away with and she cannot where her mother is concerned. But sometimes we realize that in an effort to be different from our mothers we forget that the child in question is not us... our teens needs are different from what ours might have been when we were teens. I am constantly being reminded about that ..:)

    BTW do you have a teen who has prompted you to write this?

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  3. Ah.. this is a favorite topic of mine! Yes, teens do react badly to power- I am witness to that because that is what my mother tried to do - impose her will upon me. Even today, many of the things that I do are driven more by the fact that mother had some opinion about that and I want to show her that it possible to survive doing it. But that was a different generation. Today's teens have to be handled differently- they need their space. So I give my daughter her space but she knows that there are some areas where "space" is not a negotiable option because she has not earned it. I realize that now she knows what she can get away with and she cannot where her mother is concerned. But sometimes we realize that in an effort to be different from our mothers we forget that the child in question is not us... our teens needs are different from what ours might have been when we were teens. I am constantly being reminded about that ..:)

    BTW do you have a teen who has prompted you to write this?

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  4. Once again, a very interesting post my friend. You seem to have an uncanny ability of posting really meaningful stuff... :)

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  5. A very important issue to be discussed again & again. A very well written balanced view. Important is to be non judgmental and to view from their point of view rather then thrusting on them.

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  6. @manjudasgupta - it is true that children of today are more assertive and questioning than they were earlier. parents too are getting better equipped at handling their individuality and need for space. i am so glad that you liked this post and that you took time to comment. your kids have turned out alright.

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  7. @meera - the need for space has to be balanced with the need for boundaries, since younger folk often misjudge the limits of their freedom and abilities. as parents, it is essential that we are able to help them set boundaries. a post on setting boundaries for toddlers is in the pipeline, do look out for it. as for the adolescent at home, we keep switching roles in that regard.

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  8. @viv - thanks for your kind words, vivek. wish you all the best with your new endeavor.

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  9. @s. r. ayyangar - thanks for leaving your comment. i strongly believe that the greatest and the most urgent task at hand is to equip the next generation to minimize and if possible undo the damage we have done to the planet and to our society because of thoughtless pursuit of short term material benefits. this blog is my humble, well, not so humble effort to provoke thinking along these lines.

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  10. Great insight. My son is just getting to be a teen now. I have been on my toes for the last 1 - 2 years thinking how it will be for him. Sure, I recalled my teenage days and tried to reason with myself about what I felt then. Been bracing myself to face some of the issues that are likely to crop up. Anyway, it is good to read articles like these which will keep my spirit up and also re-emphasizes my beliefs in what I need to do. Great reading, really useful.....

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  11. ...what a great amount of research work you must have done Subho, in order to write such a meaningful, vitally concerning and wonderful post. Thank you...it made a great read!

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  12. Shubhro this was a nice article indeed..v good points n observation.

    Love
    Mani

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  13. Shubhro this was a nice article indeed..v good points n observation.

    Love
    Mani

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  14. In the nuclear families, parenting is real challenge... Every one tries to establish one's own individuality, in the fragmented society, which is reduced to a MASS; here IDENTITY CRISIS, by lack of Community is a common malady.

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  15. I wish my parents had read this piece when I was a teen :( I drove them crazy...
    But this piece makes me feel good again...I am forgiven!

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  16. I am in my early eighteens and so I know what happens when anger surrounds me. I totally loose control over myself. So, I thank you from innermost corner of my heart for such an enlightening post :-) . . .

    Ashwini

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  17. U know, u made me feel like I'm nothing but an over-sized teenager ;-) Whatever, this post is great! It helped me discover myself to some extent :-)

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  18. Change is constant .. but if the change is towards the better then one can celebrate but if it leads to something that amputates relationships then it is more a reason for sorrow than joy...
    Great tips there...! Every parent should read this!
    Thank God , my daughter has passed that stage and is now married and out of my nest!
    For me, Benjamin Spock was like Bible...:))
    Nice bog..

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  19. Lovely post. Most parents of teenagers will find this very helpful.

    As you rightly said, they have to go through with this, though.

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  20. Reminds me a lot about myslf... i m gonna show this to my mom dad... ;-)

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  21. It is very interesting as well as informative post. Love the debate.
    www.rajnishonline.blogspot.com

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  22. Sadly parenting does not come with a parenting manual, so posts like these are help esp when you realize that you are not alone.
    As a parent I have come to realize that my child has his own life and own dreams, tastes aspiration. At the heat of the moment I express my displeasure - I don't like it.(less than a minute) and we will talk later.
    After that in very short time I tell what I don't like and why. Why she did and what she wants? and come to a decision. Attimes we agree to disagree.
    ex: my daughter wanted to see English serial Parenting. Saw with her didn't like the concept and told so and she agreed. But when she requested for Super Natural series I agreed.

    A child should feel loved and know that parents have their best in heart. As parents we need to realize that our child has a own life and no matter how safe we try to keep our kids they will have their own struggles, ups and down just like us!

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  23. This is not only applicable to teenagers , also to small kids...thanks...I will try this to handle my 8 year old son...

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