Teenage Anger Management Principles
Many of the basic anger management principles for younger children can be modified and used successfully with teenagers, so long as one takes into account the difference in awareness, communication skills and intellect between the different age groups. However, teenagers have specific issues that can affect their behavior and attitude e.g. hormonal changes, and these need to be taken into account when tackling their anger problems.
Anger management for teenagers and the use of cognitive therapy teaches them self-awareness, the importance of thinking and the practice of self-control. The process will make them aware that they have choices available during the process of becoming angry.
The importance of thinking during a confrontational encounter cannot be overemphasized and you should place great emphasis on helping them understanding it; most anger-prone people consider it a ‘aha moment’ when comprehended. It will alert them to their anger triggers and give them tools to avoid or diffuse them effectively.
In fact, teaching anger-prone teens to think before they act is imperative in anger management. Encouraging them to:
STOP…………………………. then THINK……………………………
makes them aware of those golden seconds between the initial feelings of anger and their reaction. This can have a life changing impact on their ability to correct problematic patterns of behavior.
Handling anger is all about empowerment, being capable of assessing the situation and making positive decisions rather than acting on impulse. Acting in a measured and rational manner takes self-control as opposed to lashing out at the first sign of confrontation. This may seem to be a lot to expect of teenager, but if approached in the right way, it can be accomplished.
Therefore, it is one thing to be able to evaluate an upsetting situation (logical mind), but to achieve a positive outcome, the other prerequisite is having developed the ability of self-control (action):
Successful Outcome (SO) = Evaluate (E) + Self-Control (SC) i.e. SO = E + SC
i.e. think + appropriate action
Teenage Anger Management Realities
Although a parent may be able to help their teenager think about what triggers their outbursts and the symptoms they experience leading up to them i.e. sweaty palms, tightening grip etc, the ability to speak to someone trained and qualified in this area cannot be underestimated. They can enable the teenager to gain a better overview of their situation, undertake progress reviews and plot the best path for sustained improvement. It sometimes takes an outsider to get inside the problem.
However, helping a teenager to become successful in anger management can be a difficult progress, for many teenagers are quick to resist advice. A program must be designed that will reach the teenager without being confrontational and overbearing. Convincing a teen that they have behavioral issues that need attention may be a significant challenge, but it is essential to make them understand the importance of making a change. No two individuals respond to a given therapy in the same way and it may be necessary to modify the technique or even try a different form of therapy along the way.
The aim is for the individual to be able to identify when their anger is escalating from the emotion into unacceptable behavior. It will require patience, hard work and more than likely, a few tears along the way, before noticeable progress is observed. However, day by day, the reward of knowing that the young person is reducing their risk of having a future marred by underachievement, conflict, aggression and possible tragedy, is priceless.