Anger Management is the set of techniques or skills a person uses to control his behavior and his responses to anger-provoking situations. The ability to manage anger is an important social skill. Anger is a normal emotion that psychologically healthy people experience. But if it gets out of hand, anger can be dangerous. Children and adolescents who learn to manage their anger are more likely to become healthy adults.
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A good activity for a group anger management session for teens is to discriminate between assertive behavior and angry behavior. Teens may start by thinking and sharing (if they choose) about times they felt like a doormat; in other words, times they failed to assert themselves. They can help each other role play other ways to handle "doormat" situations. Some role plays will fall into the "assertive" category. Others will fall into the "angry" category. Finish with a discussion of which role plays would make the best real-life choices and why.
Harvard Medical School's Elizabeth Dougherty reports on a video game, Alien Therapy, designed to teach children and adolescents anger management skills. Like any other video game in the "shoot the bad guy" genre, players may feel anxious, upset or angry when they accidentally shoot the good guy. Alien Therapy also works as a bio-feedback machine. When players' heart rates rise, their guns shoot blanks. In order to be able to shoot and play the game, the player must calm down. Adolescents can learn an important anger management technique playing Alien Therapy.
Kim Peterson, a licensed professional counselor-supervisor, recommends the game Angry Heart. This game is best for young adolescents, and should be led by a trained educator. It is a good beginning to an anger management session for a youth group. Participants write their feelings and what makes them angry on a piece of paper, fold it up, and slip it into a small balloon and then tie it shut. They do not blow up this balloon, which represents the heart. They slip the heart into a larger balloon, and blow up the large balloon. They write their names on the balloon, and how they present themselves to the world. The group facilitator leads a discussion about what is on the outside. Participants may discuss how they present themselves to the world. The facilitator asks the group to think about whether it is a good idea to hide things on the inside. They may pop the balloons, but participants should not be forced to share.
Peterson, who is also a registered play therapist, recommends Anger IQ for adolescents and adults. She explains that the game educates players about the dangers of irrational thinking. Often, people who are feeling angry begin to think in irrational ways; for example, thinking that the other person is being malicious and trying to make you angry. In the game, players get to rehearse realistic situations and come up with better responses.
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‘Anger is only one letter short of danger.’ This popular saying sums up the detrimental effect of anger. And if this powerful emotion teams up with teenage, its effects can be even more destructive.
If you are the parent of a teenager, anger management will be one of the biggest challenges that you may be facing. It is one thing that makes growing up during teens complicated and difficult – for both parents and the teenager.
Anger Management For Teens:
Understanding your teenager’s psyche and following a few tips can help you manage anger in youth better.
Why Does My Teenager Get So Angry?
We have all been there, haven’t we? Remember, how your parents struggled dealing with your moods and emotions during your teens? The best way to manage anger in teens is to understand why he gets so angry in first place.
1. Teenage – the age of metamorphosis:
Teenage is an age of physical and psychological development and hormonal changes. There is a serious metamorphosis in and around your teen’s world which creates a lot of confusion.
- Your once obedient and sweet child who couldn’t even think of being separated from you now will not be seen within reach.
- As your teen slowly flies out of your comfortable cocoon and gets more independent, he constantly faces confusion.
- The transition of getting fully independent from being fully dependent earlier creates confusion in your teenager’s brain.
- Respect the fact that your teenager is growing up and give him the space he expects and deserves.
2. Teenage Brain Develops Differently:
The two pivotal brain parts of humans develop in two different speeds during teenage years. While one part is developed fully, the other is still developing. These two parts together help them make decisions and lead life.
- Due to the different stages of development, one part functions fully while the other lags behind.
- The fully developed part holds emotions like anger, happiness, love etc. These emotions are at their lifetime peak during teens.
- The one that helps your teen understand the difference between good and bad lags behind.
- So, when your teenager gets angry, he doesn’t really know that it is bad for him and everyone around.
[ Read: Teenage Brain Development ]
3. Aggressive And Violent Teenager:
If your teen is perenially angry, frustrated, violent or aggressive, you will always be fearful. Every knock on the door and a phone call may have you worried, as you think it will be bad news that either your son is harmed or has harmed others.
Teenage girls also get angry, but they express it verbally rather than physically. Whereas teenage boys show their anger by kicking doors, throwing objects or punching walls.
The aggressive and violent behavior can be extremely upsetting experience for any parent, especially a single mom.
Anger Management In Teens:
The key to remember is that you need to realize that anger is perfectly normal. It is a natural emotion like love and happiness and there is nothing wrong about it. Having said that, expressing it the right way and controlling is what matters the most.
How your teen expresses his anger is what makes it good or bad. Here are a few tips on how to deal with anger management in teenagers that you can keep in mind to help him manage his anger better:
1. Vent Out, Don’t Burst Out:
Help your teenager understand that venting out his anger is good, but must be done carefully.
- Bursting out is never the solution.
- Aggression must be avoided in every way. Aggression and outbursts only fuel the emotion, making it worse.
[ Read: How To Control Aggression In Adolescence ]
2. Anger Isn’t Power:
Most teenagers feel that anger helps them gain power and respect. They find it authoritative. This could also be because they see their elders getting angry all the time.
- Monitor the way you conduct yourself in front of your teenager. You learn what you see.
- Help him understand that it is easier to communicate anger peacefully.
- Anger is not a way of gaining control over lives. It doesn’t make anyone powerful.
- It only makes you powerless, even on your own self!
3. Managing Anger Isn’t Suppressing It:
Anger management isn’t about suppressing your anger. It is about knowing your feelings and emotions and choosing to express it (even anger) the right way.
- Never encourage your teen to suppress the anger.
- Tell him that being physically or verbally abusive is absolutely no way of expressing anger.
- The motive of being angry is to successfully send your message across.
- Use your anger to put forward your point in a constructive way.
- The idea is to get the other person see through your point.
- If your anger doesn’t do that, no one gains anything. Rather you end up losing your own peace of mind.
[ Read: Teenage Attitude ]
What To Do When Your Teen Is Angry & Defiant?
Teenagers who are angry, defiant and oppositional most of the time will often draw you into power struggles and arguments. The best thing you can do in this situation is to be your solid self and figure out the problem slowly.
Firstly disengage and help your teen learn how to manage his emotions of frustration and disappointment. However, disengaging can sometime enrage him, so better don’t be reactive or respond to him emotionally. Tell him that you can talk when he has calmed down and walk away from the scene.Try not to get back into the matter even though he tries to draw you in.
Your major goal is to keep things in place and continue being engaged with your teen. The more you react to him, the more he will drag you in, just fuelling the struggle. Try ignoring his attempts by turning on the radio or television. If your teen is old enough, you can take him for a drive or walk.
Anger Management Tips For Teens:
It is easier said than done, but as a parent, you need to help your teen control his anger. Here are a few anger management tips for teenagers that will help you do so in a more constructive way:
1. Your teen can feel it when he gets angry. He will feel warm and hot flushes and his heart will start to pound. Tell him to identify this emotion and step back when he experiences it. Ask him to take a deep breath and slowly breathe it out.
2. Tell your teen to count from 1 to 10. This will help divert his mind and cool him down.
3. Teach your teen to always think before he reacts. Let him practice a lot of self-control. Ask him to identify the factors that made him angry and look for a solution to make things better.
4. Tell your teen to practice yoga for a peaceful mind and soul. Exercising regularly, playing a lot of different sports and having a healthy body helps reduce stress and boost energy.
5. Ensure your teen eats right all the time. Diet too plays a pivotal role in controlling emotions and moods. Your teen should eat lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy food.
6. Your teen should sleep well every night. The brain needs good amount of rest and sleep to help it function better. Sleep deprivations can make your teen moody, stressed, lethargic, and irritable and invite host of other problems.
7. Monitor what your teen watches. Teenage is the best time to learn new things. Engage your teen into constructive hobbies.
[ Read: Parenting Tips For Teenagers ]
Anger Management Activities For Teens:
For teenagers who struggle to manage their anger, team building activities help. By playing some activities together, they learn about their anger and also try to control it. You can encourage him to try the following activities with siblings, friends or with the family itself.
Team building activities help teens with many key skills. They will –
- Recognize the difference between feelings and actions of being angry.
- Identify the triggers of anger
- Easily recognize their physical actions when angry
- Think about the consequences of anger
- Develop productive ways of expressing and managing angry feelings
1. Hidden Heart:
It is a team building activity from Games for Groups and designed for teenagers to recognize and understand how anger affects them.
You Will Need:
Each team member requires:
- A paper
- A pencil or pen
- One large and one small deflated balloon
- Thin pieces of ribbon and permanent marker.
- Ask your teen and other team members to write any of their past angry experience on paper and place it in the small balloon.
- Now keep the small balloon inside the larger balloon.
- Let them write something on the outside of the larger balloon, for instance, let them use humor to hide the pain.
- Then all of them should burst the balloons together, and if they are comfortable, they can share what they have written on the paper.
2. Board Game Challenge:
It is another easy game to try at home with things you may already have. It helps your teenager how to acquire a good sportsmanship in competitive situations and also helps to control anger, agitation and frustration.
You Will Need:
- Play money
- Few board games like Jenga or Operation.
- The group can take up any board game and keep playing. The members earn money by playing different games.
- Finally, present a gift to the person who has more money in order to make the game more competitive.
- Now, once done, encourage your teen child and his friends to think about the following questions: How did you feel about losing the game? What was the purpose for you to win? Did you feel disappointed when playing? If yes, how did you handle it?
3. M &M Game:
This is another fun choice of activities to play with a group.
What Does It Require?
- A bag full of M & M’s
- Game cards with written messages
How to play?
- Write any one thing on each game card that the group has to do.
- Ask the teens to randomly pick out M & Ms
- For blue – say one thing you can do to cool down when you are angry
- For orange – say one thing that makes you angry
- For red – describe a situation when it was hard for you to show self-control
- For green – say how you can show self-control
- For yellow – describe the good choice you made when you were angry for the situation to calm down
- For black – describe the wrong choice you made for the situation to worsen
- Ask the teens to share their set of answers for each color and then eat their choice of M &M’s
Try encouraging your teen through these activities to manage their anger. If their anger gets out their hand, it can be dangerous.
Be There For Your Teen:
Teenage anger management does get tough, but a little change in your attitude as a parent can go a long way in helping your teenager control those anger issues. Here are some things you need to keep in mind:
1. Don’t be too judgemental. Respect the fact that your teen is growing into an adult and treat him as one.
2. Be a good listener. Your teenager probably just wants someone to hear him out. Be patient and listen carefully. A problem well heard is problem half-solved.
3. Control your own anger, reactions and stress levels. Children pick up most habits form their parents. Monitor the way you react to situations. Be your child’s role model.
4. Avoid heated arguments. Encourage healthy discussions to sort problems out.
5. Connecting with your teen might take time. So take it easy. If your teen rejects the idea of you getting closer, be patient. Try later.
6. There are times, when the trigger of the anger is actually too big to handle for your teen. Tell him it is okay to seek help and advice from elders, parents or any other adult he is comfortable sharing with. Tell him that you too have been through this phase and will provide solutions that will work best.
[ Read: Nutritional Requirements For Teenagers ]
7. Help your teen confide in you, the parents. Treat your teen as your friend. Encourage him to share his problems and difficulties with you right from the very beginning.
8. Understand that your teen is at the crossroads of teens and adulthood. His brain is actively developing every moment. Help him see through the solutions you provide.
Being a parent to a teen is no easy task. So much so that most parents dread this phase! Remember, this is just a phase and shall pass on soon. Help your teenager understand that being angry about something isn’t wrong, but what he does to express the emotion is what makes the difference.
One of the best tips for managing your teen’s anger is not make him feel controlled and managed. This would only make your teen resist all that you say.
Tell us if you have other ways to manage anger management in teens. Share the problems you face while dealing with him and solutions too. We are all ears for your difficulties and would be happy to render help.
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