Teens get angry just as often as adults, but they are often more vehement in expressing their rage. Some parents feel as though they receive a daily dose of verbal assault, which is something that needs to be stopped. Often, teens who have temper problems express their anger in ways that are both disrespectful and hurtful, and parents are often the primary target. If you are struggling with your teen’s temper problems, here are a few ways you can mitigate the damage and start helping your teen to come to terms with the cause.
Examine Your Family Dynamic
In some cases — though certainly not all — a teen’s temper problems stem from issues that plague the entire family. How do you deal with rage? Do you vent your anger on your teen? Children learn much of their behavior from watching their parents behave, and you may be the culprit. If you respond to stress or irritants by flying off the handle in a rage, you can’t expect your teen to behave any differently. So before you take any extreme measures, make sure that you are setting a reasonable example for your teen.
Don’t Shout Back
Even if you are normally quiet by nature, the constant flaring of your teen’s temper might cause you to break out into a screaming match. Whatever you do, don’t lower yourself to matching raised voices and shaking fists with your teen. Instead, force yourself to respond calmly and quietly to demonstrate that temper problems aren’t acceptable. This doesn’t mean you need to take the abuse — far from it — but you also don’t want to enable the behavior by doing it yourself. Instead, you’ll need to set some firm ground rules and consequences for fighting the temper problems.
Explain the Result of Temper Problems
While you should certainly have rules and consequences regarding temper outbursts, it is also important for your teen to know how much the rage he or she expresses can hurt. When you wake up every morning knowing that your teen is going to yell at you about something, just getting through the day can be rough. Remind your teen that you don’t treat him or her that way and that shouting can really hurt someone’s feelings. Talking to your teen like an adult can be hard for parents to do, but it can also produce unexpectedly positive results.
Lay Out the Consequences
If explaining your hurt feelings to your teen doesn’t help the temper problems, start enforcing consequences. I’ve found that the best consequences are those that effect your teen’s favorite activities. For example, if your child likes to play soccer, take that away for a week when he or she has a temper tantrum. The same goes for kids who enjoy horseback riding, swimming, volleyball, playing video games or even a club at school. Explain that if your teen can’t find a way to behave, that he or she doesn’t deserve to participate in activities.
If nothing else works, and you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, seek therapy for assistance with your teen’s temper problems. No one likes to throw their kid into a psychiatrist’s office, but sometimes there aren’t any other options. Simply stay on top of your teen’s therapy, and don’t agree to anything with which you aren’t comfortable. In some cases, temper problems are the product of a much larger issue, and therapy can help to bring that problem out.
Know that you aren’t alone in dealing with your teen’s temper problems. Thousands upon thousands of parents deal with this issue every day, and there are even support groups in some areas for parents like you. Just keep showering your teen with love and setting firm rules and consequences for behavior. If you continue working toward a solution, you’ll eventually get there.