Anger, itself, isn't a destructive feeling. It's actually a beneficial emotion, according to the National Association of School Psychologists. Anger can help you avoid dangerous situations and can even save your life, but for teens whose emotions are already wracked by hormonal changes, the challenge lies in choosing the correct and appropriate reaction. Give your teens the tools they need to help them make good decisions even when frustrated.
Issue a Stop Command
Talk with your teen about recognizing the signs of anger. Tense muscles, increased heart rate and even a sick feeling in the stomach are signs that anger is building. Teach your teen to issue a silent stop command to himself when he first begins feeling the signals. This is his warning to take a deep breath, gauge his next words carefully and walk away if necessary. Meditative breathing -- taking air slowly in through the nose and letting it slowly out through the mouth -- might prove helpful.
Consider a Solution
Remembering that there is always a safe "out" plays a big role in anger management. Engage in role play with your youngster and help him practice beneficial solutions, such as locating the nearest safe adult or agreeing to disagree with his antagonist. If his anger is aimed more at situations, inanimate objects or even himself -- give him stress-relieving activities to practice. Screaming into a pillow or hitting a punching bag are healthier alternatives to hurting himself or someone else.
Weigh the Consequences
Consequences play a huge role in learning to manage anger effectively. Talk with your teen about the many consequences of behaving badly -- suspension from school, being grounded, getting a black eye or even being arrested. Ensure he knows that consequences are in place at home just as in the real world, and that if he fails to manage his anger he'll have to face them.
If your first tendency is to yell, scream or hit your teen when he does something hugely inappropriate, it's a good bet that he's learned more from you than you wanted him to pick up. Kids learn by observation, and if you have issues with anger management yourself, you can expect your son or daughter to react in the same manner with people outside the home. Communication is the key to helping your teen react appropriately when he's angry. Talk with him when you're both feeling level-headed and discuss techniques, solutions and consequences. Then be a good role model yourself.
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