Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Teen Anger Management

Anger is a very common emotion and problem that a lot adolescents and their parents are having to face. Between the ages of 13 – 18 years is a time in an individual’s life where there is great uncertainty and a time where a lot of changes are occurring both; physically, intellectually and emotionally. Anger can often be directed towards the individual or outwardly towards others (e.g., parents, family, teachers and friends). Below are some strategies to help to deal anger within adolescence:

1. Anger outbursts are usually a result of a lot of built up resentment and frustration within the individual. It is very important to deal with anger as it arises through assertiveness.

2. Try to refrain from consuming alcohol as a way of dealing with your anger. Alcohol will only increase the intensity, frequency and duration of your anger outbursts.

3. As much as possible give your son/ daughter their “own space”. As a parent this may be counter intuitive but it is the best thing that you can do. When they are ready to talk they will come to you and you will be able to have a productive conversation with them about their anger.

4. When talking with others (e.g., son or daughter) about their anger determine in your mind whether (i) they want to be heard or (ii) whether they would like some advice from you. A lot of fights occur when the adolescent wants to be heard and the parent attempts to give them advice.

5. Regularly check in with others within your family (e.g., during dinner). This is a great opportunity to raise any issues that have been on your mind in the short-medium term. It also provides others with an opportunity to raise any issues that have been annoying them. This activity is a great way to promote assertiveness within the family unit.

6. When you do have an angry reaction to a given situation, to acknowledge the feeling. If you feel that you are in control of the feeling, then to address the source of your anger (e.g., being assertive and having a conversation with the person at work, home etc). If you feel that you aren’t in a position to deal with it then and there, to remove yourself from the situation to “calm down” and make a mental note to come back later to deal with it.

7. Ensure that your sleeping patterns aren’t compromised. Try not to think about your anger towards another person before going to bed at nighttime.

8. Try not to play the incident (that is making you angry) over and over in your head. this will make you angrier than need be. Identify that you are angry, and address your anger with the person has soon as humanly possible.

9. Refrain from gossiping about the other person who has made you angry in the first place. It will not help you to deal with your anger and what you have been saying will probably get back to the person concerned making it harder for you to talk with them about the issue.

10. Minimise the consumption of high sugar/ caffeine content drinks (e.g., cordial, soft-drink, coffee, energy drinks).

11. Ensure that you engage in regular physical exercise. This will help to release a lot of pent-up anger

Mark Korduba, Psychologist (m.korduba@gmail.com or http://www.angermanagementbrisbane.com)