Location: Bradley Hospital

Bradley Hospital

What Can You Do to Help Your Teen Manage Anger?

Support Awareness of Anger Triggers

Anger triggers can be numerous, but a few may include :

  • stress
  • poor self-care
  • poor self-esteem
  • memories of past insults
  • timing

Once your teen is aware of their anger triggers, they can choose to alter their environment or alter their response to that environment. Assist your teen in better monitoring the feelings and bodily sensations they experience when becoming angry. Ask your teen to be aware of how their body feels before, during and after they experience anger. If it helps, tell them to write those feelings down.

Help Change Thought Patterns That Trigger Anger

Teenagers should do their best to try to interpret the situation that makes them angry from a different point of view. This is called cognitive restructuring. They can do this by:

Recognizing cognitive distortions, such as:

  • All-or-nothing thinking. For example, believing that everything has to be perfect; "I must have it this way."
  • Misattributions. For example, "My parents are just trying to make me angry," or, for parents, "My child is trying to make me angry."
  • Catastrophizing. For example, "This is so awful! Everything is ruined! This is entirely terrible!"

Using logic to counteract strong emotions

  • Teens should logically debate their assumptions, as logic counteracts anger. For example, they should ask themselves, "Is the world really out to get me?" or "What is the likelihood that everyone hates me?"

Substituting a happy or funny mental image to interrupt anger-producing thoughts.

  • Your teen should try to find something humorous about the situation and tell themselves that they will "laugh about this later."