Anger Management in Teens

Anger Management in Teens

We all feel angry at times – it is a normal emotion that everyone experiences. In teenagers, anger sometimes takes on a different form and may become hard to control. According to Paradigm Malibu, an Adolescent Treatment Center, teenagers often find it difficult to control their anger due to hormonal changes, low self-esteem, or discomfort communicating their feelings. While most teenagers learn how to control their anger over time, others may continue to struggle with anger management due to underlying difficulties with anxiety, depression, and other common mental health issues. Let’s explore some techniques and tips that could help teens in managing difficult and overwhelming emotions.

Anger Management – What Works for Teens?

Though anger is a healthy and normal emotion, it is important to learn how to manage it. While some teens may lash our verbally, others may become physically aggressive as well. If teens are not able to tackle and learn to control their anger at this age, it can cause problems for them later on in adulthood – with relationships both professional and personal, career growth, and overall well-being.

  1. Understanding the difference between anger and aggression.  Expecting a teen to never get angry is unrealistic, and actually unhealthy as suppressing feelings and emotions can be just as damaging as losing control. However, when anger becomes aggressive – that is not acceptable. Throwing things, pushing, shoving, slamming doors, yelling or cursing, and any other forms of violent behavior can have serious consequences.
  2. Recognizing the signs. Intense feelings of anger often result in physical manifestations. Clenched fists, rapid heartbeat, or feeling flushed are some of the common signs that anger levels are rising. Often times, teens let things escalate till things get blown out of proportion and then it becomes very hard to contain. Learning to pause, recognize the emotion and the signs that the anger is very much there and can get out of hand, and then taking a moment to step back, take some deep breaths, have a cold drink and just allow the emotion to fizzle down a little bit is the best way to manage anger. It does take practice, though!
  3. Practicing relaxation techniques. It’s important to find what works best for each individual to relax. Taking a “self-time-out”, so to speak, works for some. Removal from the situation, being alone in a quiet space, just taking a moment to gather thoughts if things are getting heated. This need for a “time-out” should always be respected by others, no matter how offended or hurt they may feel. Some need to physically relax, which allows them to gain more control of their emotions. Yoga, meditation, mindfulness practices, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery are some ways that to learn how to relax the body and focus thoughts (Paradigm Malibu, 2018).
  4. Learning how to be assertive. At times, anger stems from when someone feels taken advantage of, treated unjustly, or being used or stepped on. It doesn’t come naturally for everyone to be assertive or to speak up for themselves, but it should be something practiced and worked on. Teens should be aware of their boundaries, what makes them uncomfortable, and how to deal with a situation in which their boundaries or limits are being violated. The first step is to work upon setting those boundaries first.
  5. Getting physical exercise. Any form of physical activity releases endorphins, which are known as the “feel good” hormones. Making exercise a regular part of routine helps in improving physical as well as mental health overall. Exercise is a great way to release pent up difficult emotions and energy, it helps to regulate moods, allows for better sleep, lessens anxiety and stress levels, and of course – keeps you physically in shape!
  6. Knowing when to get help. When a teen feels like they are more often angry than not angry, or they feel like they tend to get aggressive or violent in bouts of anger – it may be time to get some professional help to cope with managing the anger. There is no shame in getting help. The skills and techniques learned as a teen to help cope with anger better will help them out in adulthood when there is a job, responsibilities, relationships, and more to maintain.

Hissah Enrichment Center’s anger management training is one of the best services the center has to offer. Using Redford Williams’ 12 steps we help participants control aggression by learning to challenge their negative thought processes and develop appropriate ways to express their feelings. By becoming aware of the underlying emotion, participants can learn to change how they view, interpret and describe events, effectively channeling anger into more creative outcomes.

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Paradigm Malibu (2018). Anger management for teens. Retrieved from