How to Help an Angry Teenager Overcome Behavioral Issues
If you have an angry teenager at home, then you may be telling yourself that this is just a passing phase. While it's true that teenagers are more sensitive and quick to anger due to hormonal changes and the struggles of adolescence, kids who are defiant or who constantly misbehave are at risk for serious problems as adults.
This statement is supported by the results from a recent study that shows that angry teenagers—those who show frequent behavioral problems at school—are much more likely to suffer problems as adults. These findings come from a British longitudinal study which tracked 3500 subjects over a period 40 years and found that teens who misbehaved at school (as reported by their teachers) were much more likely to suffer divorce, financial problems and psychological issues such as anxiety and depression as adults.
In the study, misbehavior at school was defined by the following: truancy, failing to come to school, disobeying, defiance and daydreaming during class. Teens who misbehaved frequently had a 30 percent higher rate of depression as adults. These same teens had a 70% higher rate of divorce as adults and twice the rate of financial problems.
As you can see, helping teens manage their anger is key to their happiness and success as adults.
Dealing with an Angry Teenager
Most parents do not know how to deal effectively with an angry teenager. What usually happens is that the teen lashes out in a way that pushes the parent's buttons, the parent reacts and the conflict escalates. This is a vicious cycle that repeats itself throughout adolescence, damaging relationships and making home life a living hell. In fact, dealing with an angry teen can create so much stress, it can end a marriage.
Constant shouting matches do not work and ignoring the problem makes things worse and only enables the teen's behavior, but most parents are truly at a loss for what to do. They may try various forms of discipline or taking away privileges which may just make an angry teen more rebellious and defiant.
The problem escalates when an angry teenager starts acting out at school. Now teachers and the principal are calling, the teen's grades are dropping and the parent has problems on two fronts, in addition to all the stresses of trying to make it in today's chaotic world.
After receiving numerous emails from my subscribers about a program for angry teenagers that they had used at home to turn around teen behavior, I decided to review it for myself. With a degree in psychology, a husband who is a trained therapist and two teens at home, I felt well-qualified to do so.
The program was developed by a therapist who was himself a troubled teen and understands the issues from the inside out. Over the last 25 years, he has helped turn around the behavior of angry teens at school and in his private practice. The program teaches simple techniques that you can use at home to defuse anger, motivate your teen, get him to listen and do his work at school and chores at home. This program really works and you can start applying the techniques right away. It has worked effectively even for teens who have been diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, a severe behavioral problem that can lead to criminal behavior later in life.
Although no parent enjoys being the victim of an angry teenager, you also probably realize that those who lash out at others are deeply unhappy themselves. Now, we have research that proves this out: troubled teens experience higher rates of divorce, financial difficulties, anxiety and depression as adults.
As loving parents, one of the greatest things we can do is provide our kids with tools that will help them to lead happy, productive and fulfilling lives, which is why we must recognize when it is time to get help for an angry teenager. And of course, by helping our teens, we help ourselves and restore love, respect and kindness to our homes.
Ms. Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting.