Anger Management for Teens

Now that you're a teen, you probably hear a lot about teen hormones, teen mood swings, and teen problems (as if you weren't living through them)! It's enough to make anyone mad, but here's the thing - teenage anger is a normal part of growing. Besides, anger is a normal emotion for everybody - little kids, teens, and adults. While anger often gets a bad rap, it isn't bad to get angry.

Anger is just another emotion like love, hate, joy, and sorrow. The trick to anger management, like any other emotion, is how you express it. If something makes you happy, depending on what it is and who did it, you might express your happiness with a smile, a hug, or a kiss. Expressing anger is the same. Anger works for you when you choose how to express it. Choosing how to express your anger is anger management.

Anger is a signal that something's not right. It actually can help you get through a dangerous situation or give you courage to stand up for your rights when you've been wronged. The problem with anger is that it's fueled with adrenaline and it's easy to let that rush take control, making you feel overwhelmed, powerless, and out of control.

Many things in life can stir up your anger. You can get angry over a lost game, a cancelled concert, or people (classmates, teachers, parents - even your best friend) may do things that don't "sit right" with you. At times, you've probably even been angry with yourself for wearing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing. Even just growing can make you angry. ("I hate being so short, so fat so thin, so tall...!")

Temper Tools
Although anger is a normal, healthy emotion it's also a powerful emotion that can get in the way of what you want. Learning to channel your anger helps you to get from point "A" to point "B" without destroying everything in your path. It takes both time and practice to develop good anger management skills. By the time you're a teen, you have the tools you need to manage your anger. The challenge is learning how to use them to get the best results.

The most valuable tool you have for managing anger is self-control. Fortunately, it's a tool that you've been sharpening for years. Self-control keeps you from telling your Mom that her roast beef is crummy or your best friend that her new bedroom wallpaper looks stupid. It keeps you from cutting class just because you forgot about the test.

Luckily, when you begin to get angry, your body gives you physical signals. You begin to feel warm and flushed, your heart starts to pound, and your skin feels "tight" or tingly. It's time to step back, take a deep breath, and put the self-control in gear.

Using self-control when you're angry can keep you from saying or doing something that makes you look foolish. It can make the difference between stumbling over a chair, kicking it and really hurting your foot or just moving the chair out of your way. It can make the difference between saying or doing something now that you'll need to apologize for later or even worse, something that an apology won't fix.

One way to imprint the benefits of anger management is to look at the ways you react to anger. How do you feel after you've vented your anger? We rarely are rewarded for reacting to anger; instead, we usually end up paying the consequences.

Look at past situations and examine what you could have done differently to arrive at a better outcome. Would a better response to anger have earned you more respect from others or more self-respect? Did your actions result in positive change, negative change, or no change at all?

Managing Anger

  1. Tune in to your feelings. Note what makes you angry and why. Don't settle for pat explanations like "It's not fair." Ask yourself why you feel it's not fair, what needs to be done to make it fair, and what the best way is to bring about that change.
  2. Step back and think when you begin to feel angry. Turn on the self-control. Take a minute to define what's making you angry and what you can do to solve the problem.
  3. Practice damage control. Choose the solution that gives you the most benefit with the least damage.
  4. Although anger often makes mountains out of molehills, sometimes the mountains are really mountains. Some problems are just too big for anyone to handle alone. When that's the case, seek help from a parent, counselor, or other trusted adult to help you find the resolution to your anger.
Consider getting anger management help when:
  1. You get into physical fights.
  2. You find yourself arguing heatedly and often with no resolution.
  3. You can't get over a past situation or occurrence.
  4. You're in a bad mood more often than a good one.
  5. Your anger makes you want to "get back" at something or someone.
  6. Your anger makes you want to hurt someone else or yourself.

Always remember: You can either react to angry feelings (kick that chair) or respond to them. Responding to anger takes practice, but keeping the benefits of anger management in mind makes it a lot easier to practice.

It's not bad to feel angry. When expressed constructively it can increase your self-respect as well as others respect for you. Anger management can be a tool you can use to solve problems and make positive change during tough teenage years and it's a tool that lasts a lifetime!

Anger Management in Children ►

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