Anger Management for Teens and Young Adults

People with mental health issues often struggle to cope with life’s stresses. As a result, many people who suffer from mental health disorders struggle to manage their own emotions. One form of emotion that people who suffer from mental health issues often exhibit is anger.

While anyone of any age can suffer from anger issues, teenagers and young adults are especially susceptible to developing anger issues. In fact, many teens in America struggle with severe enough anger issues to need professional anger management.

Adults with teens who suffer from anger issues should learn ways to help teach their teens how to better cope with life’s stresses. For adults that are dealing with severe anger management issues in their child, we offer mental health programs for young adults in Idaho that improve the quality of life for the child and the family as well. 

Why Teens and Young Adults Often Struggle with Anger Issues

There are numerous reasons why teens are particularly susceptible to developing anger issues. In our young adult transition program, we work with teens to help sort out their anger. Finding out where the anger stems from is our initial goal. In many cases, change can impact teens’ lives in negative ways. Dealing with such change can be stressful, which, in turn, can cause teens to exhibit anger.

Another reason why teenagers are more prone to anger issues is that they are having to learn how to manage more responsibilities than before due to them getting older. For example, because how one performs academically in high school determines where a person can go to college, academics become much more intense and important during one’s teenage years. Also, due to growing up both physically and mentally, romantic relationships start to become more serious around the time that one is a teenager. 

Furthermore, teenagers often have to start dealing with responsibilities such as learning how to drive, getting their first job, etc. All of these growing pains can cause a teen, and even a young adult, to become so stressed that he or she starts to exhibit anger issues.

Stages of Anger in the Anger Cycle

While anger may seem like an irrational emotion that arises out of nowhere, this is not the case. There are stages of anger. The different stages that a person goes through when exhibiting anger is known as the anger cycle. The specific stages within the anger cycle are described below:

1. Triggering Event

The first stage in the anger cycle is the occurrence of an event that triggers an emotion in a person.

2. Negative Thoughts

The second stage of anger in the anger cycle is the negative beliefs and interpretations of the triggering event. Because people who exhibit anger are in a state of emotion, the negative thoughts that they have about the events that triggered their anger are often irrational.

3. Negative Emotions

This stage of the anger cycle refers to the negative emotions that people associate with their negative thoughts. 

4. Physical Symptoms

After a person receives a triggering event that causes him or her to experience negative thoughts and emotions, he or she will then start to exhibit physical symptoms of anger. Examples of such physical symptoms include a racing heartbeat, flushed cheeks, clenched fists, etc.

5. Behavioral Reactions

After a person exhibits physical symptoms of anger, he or she will finally start to exhibit behavioral reactions of anger. Examples of behavioral reactions of anger include yelling, fighting, criticizing others, or even shutting down. Behavioral reactions of anger occur in response to a person’s negative thoughts and emotions after a triggering event, not the triggering event itself.

6. Triggering Event

A person exhibiting anger often triggers others to respond back in anger, hence, the anger cycle. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a person exhibiting behavioral reactions of anger often becomes an anger triggering event for others.

As another person experiences an event that triggers anger in him or her, the anger cycle continues. To end an anger cycle, conscious decisions to do so must occur among all the individuals involved.

How to Manage Teenage and Young Adult Anger

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Professional anger management for teens and young adults often seems aggressive to parents. Therefore, many parents would first prefer to help teach their teenage and young adult children how to manage stress and anger on their own. Below are examples of ways that adults can help manage teenage and young adult anger.

Show Empathy

Every human being, regardless of age, wants to be heard and understood. Parents can show their teens and young adults that they hear and understand them by showing empathy. This means that when teens and young adults exhibit anger, parents should recognize their children’s emotions and tell them that they understand why they are angry even though the level of anger that they are exhibiting may be inappropriate.

Be Consistent with Consequences

Being consistent helps with anger management for teens and young adults. This is because consistent consequences clearly show the teens and young adults what their boundaries are.

Consistency with consequences also gives teens and young adults something stable and unchanging to follow. This is important because teens and young adults already suffer from a stressful amount of change in their lives.

Take Time Outs

Parents can help with anger management for teens and young adults by modeling what appropriate responses to anger and frustration look like. For example, when parents start to become angry and frustrated with their teen and young adult children, they can take a moment for themselves to calm down before continuing the conversation.

By taking a “time out” when angry, parents can model to their children that it’s better to step away and recollect one’s emotions than act irrationally and say and do things out of anger that one doesn’t mean. Parents taking “time outs” when emotions are high also helps their children unknowingly practice remaining calm in the face of confrontation.

Talk About Hot Topics at Calm Times

Another way for parents to model appropriate displays of anger and frustration to their teen and young adult children is to only talk to their children about why they are angry with them at times when they know all parties are in a calm state of mind. Doing this shows teens and young adults that it’s best to tackle emotional topics when everyone is cool, calm, and collected. Once again, this behavior also helps teens and young adults practice displaying appropriate levels of anger and frustration.

Encourage Teens and Young Adults to Exercise

Parents can promote anger management in teen and young adult children by encouraging them to take care of themselves both physically and mentally. That way, the fuses of the teen and young adult kids aren’t as short and they can better manage their emotions. One way that teens and young adults can take care of themselves physically is by exercising regularly and learning about health education.

Encourage Teens and Young Adults to Get Enough Sleep

Another way that teens and young adults can take care of themselves physically is by getting 7-10 hours of sleep each night. Getting an appropriate amount of sleep each night is vital for one’s physical health, mental health, and recovery.

Encourage Teens and Young Adults to Maintain a Healthy Social Life

Human beings are social creatures by nature. Therefore, one way to maintain good mental health as a human being is to upkeep a healthy social life. By upkeeping their mental health through healthy social lives, teens and young adults can better cope with people, places, or things that may trigger their anger.

Additional Anger Management Tips and Techniques That Parents Can Teach Their Teen and Young Adult Children

There are numerous other ways that parents can teach anger management for teens and young adults. Some key anger management tips and techniques that parents can teach teens  and young adults include the following:

Try to Solve the Problem

Rather than immediately acting out in anger, parents can teach their children to try to solve the issue at hand that’s angering them. Not only will doing this help their children better manage their anger, but it will also help build their children’s problem-solving skills.

Try to Solve the Problem

Self-soothing is a coping mechanism that teens and young adults can use to help them better manage their anger. There are many ways that teens and young adults can self-soothe themselves. For example, they can use music, breathing exercises, or meditation to self-soothe themselves.

Be Self-Aware

Being conscious of one’s actions, how others perceive them, and how they affect others is self-awareness. The more a teenager or young adult is self-aware, the less likely that he or she will display inappropriate levels of anger around others. Therefore, teaching young adults about self-awareness can help with anger management for teens.  

Know the Physiological Warning Signs of Anger

As briefly mentioned earlier in this article, one of the early stages of the anger cycle is physical symptoms. Teens and young adults that are aware of the physiological warning signs of anger can remove themselves from the angering situation and practice their coping mechanisms before having an emotional outburst. Some of the common physiological warning signs of anger include a racing heartbeat, having a flushed face, and having clenched fists. 

When to Receive Professional Mental Health Treatment

Sometimes, practicing all of the anger management tips and techniques at home is not enough to manage a teen or young adult’s anger issues. If a teenager or young adult’s anger issues are so extreme that at-home anger management techniques aren’t working, it’s time to seek professional anger management treatment.

Receive Professional Anger Management for Teens and Young Adults at Innercept

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Innercept is part of the Altior Healthcare family of mental health treatment facilities and programs that focus on the mental health needs of adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 – 28.

Innercept uses evidence-based, scientific modalities and treatment approaches to build the mental health strength of each of its patients. With a wide set of credentials and clinical resources, Innercept is one of the best residential mental health centers for adolescents and young adults in the world.

If you’re a teenager or young adult that needs anger management or any other form of mental health treatment, contact Innercept today to receive help. We are here to serve your mental health needs.

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