Location: Bradley Hospital

Bradley Hospital

How Can I Teach My Teen to Resolve Feelings in a Positive Way ?

Help Them to Learn to Work Through Feelings in an Indirect Way

Prevent your teen's anger from building up by allowing avenues for physical activity. Allow them to "take space" and cool down. Give them the personal space and privacy they need to express themselves creatively. Great ways of working out anger include:
  • Journaling
  • Exercise (sports, kickboxing, using punching bags, etc.)
  • Expressive artwork
  • Creative visualization
  • Counseling to resolve and understand feelings better

Help Identify and Express the Feelings that Come Before Your Child's Anger

Help Teens Work Through Strong Emotions

Tips On Letting Go of Anger

Tips for Teens:

  • Practice forgiveness
  • Accept things you cannot control
  • Change the things you can
  • Simplify (focus on one thing at a time; stop and think!)
  • Utilize the acronym STOP!: Stop, Think, Observe, Problem-Solve
  • Think about the problem-solving pros and cons
  • Build on positives

Tips for Parents:

When responding to escalating anger in teens:

  • Maintain you composure
  • Focus your verbal communication on helping your teen become calm
  • Focus your nonverbal communication on helping your teen become calm
  • Avoid criticizing your child's bodily reactions to anger
  • Communicate acceptance of your teen's anger, but rejection of the inappropriate expression of anger
  • Allow the expression of anger, as long as it is done respectfully
  • Allow time for space and "cool down"
  • Avoid being critical, sarcastic or threatening
  • Clearly define your expectations
  • Focus on the positives

Related Articles

Often, anger is a secondary emotion. For boys, especially, anger is sometimes seen as more acceptable than fear, sadness or shame. Therefore, it is important that all teenagers, boys and girls, feel that it is okay to express their feelings.

They should:
  • Communicate actively before anger builds up.
  • Listen to the person that is making them angry.
You should:
  • Slow down your speech and think through your responses.
  • Help kids to understand what they are feeling.
  • Don't blame or make kids think they are bad for having angry feelings.
  • Let them know that everyone experiences angry feelings.
  • Teach that it is what we do with the feelings that matter.
  • Help kids clarify confused feelings; find where the problem is stemming from.
  • Ensure there is not a deeper problem.
  • Stay in touch with your own feelings when your teen has an anger problem.
  • Share your own stories of being a teenager. Sometimes, it helps teenagers to know that you really do understand where they are coming from.

Teach Your Teen to Respond Assertively, Yet Respectfully

  • Teach your child to express their anger, but still be kind.
  • Help your teenager to express feelings in appropriate words, For example,"It makes me so angry when…"
  • Utilize role playing as a tool for learning respectful anger management.
  • Re-enforce the practice of empathizing and perspective-taking.
  • Through practice, increase your teen's confidence in responding without yelling or hurting others.
  • Help teenagers feel empowerment and control in other ways.

Support Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques lower physiological arousal, and can help curb anger. Helpful techniques can include:
  • Deep breathing
  • Slowly repeating a calming word or phrase, while breathing deeply
  • Visualizing a relaxing experience
  • Participating in non-strenuous, slow exercise
  • Using " imaginable exposure" (While feeling deeply relaxed, think about the anger-provoking situation. Then, let go of the anger.)