What is Teenage Anger?

Anger is a part of our emotional language and can be used to express difficult emotions, cope with difficult situations and even act as a catalyst to make life-changing affirmations.  Anger in teenagers and adults can become problematic when it begins to effect daily life, relationships and future goals.

Teenager anger takes many forms. It may be expressed as indignation and resentment, or rage and fury. These feelings can manifest in the form physical and verbal violence, prejudice, malicious gossip, antisocial behaviour, sarcasm, addictions, withdrawal, and psychosomatic disorders. These behaviours often stem underlying events that have or are occurring in a teenagers life, and need to be addressed to transition an adolescent back into a positive state of mind.

Signs

Anger can be our way of expressing or responding to a range of other feelings, such as:

  • Frustration
  • Embarrassment or humiliation
  • Guilt or shame
  • Jealousy
  • Hurt or sadness
  • Feeling unable to control a situation
  • Feeling threatened or frightened
  • Feeling unfairly treated
  • Feeling misunderstood or not listened to
  • Feeling the pressure of living in two worlds
  • Feeling a loss of connection to family, community or country.

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 behaviour for both parents and teens. That is, teens are simply negatively reacting to their parent’s behaviours, and parents react back in an equally negative manner. This sets up a self-reinforcing pattern of interaction. Unless we work to change our own behaviour, we cannot help another change theirs. We need to respond rather than react to each other and to situations. The intention is not to deny the anger, but to control that emotion and find a way to express it in a productive or at least, a less harmful, manner.

Treatment

Dealing with Anger can be difficult, however with professional help and a tailored plan of attack, these feelings can be addressed. An interesting approach advocated by Headspace is the ANGER approach:

A – Acknowledge your ‘angry’ triggers and signs
N – Neutralise the situation
G – Get to the bottom of why you are feeling angry
E – Explore your solutions
R – Reach out to someone you trust

If you or your child are struggling to cope with anger, our team can provide an initial assessment and instigate a one to one conversation to help formulate a treatment plan based on your needs. To find out more, simply contact us.

Sources:

Teenager Anger – Psych Central
Understanding anger for young people – Headspace