When I was a teen, I was the poster child for teenage angst. My mother had a difficult time dealing with me way back then. And now that I am a parent, I meet parents whose usual concern is how to handle their angry teenagers. I hear them complaining because they cannot understand their kids.
What if I sense that my child is angry? How could I deal with him or her? Here are some tips that parents can implement.
1. Understand your child’s stage. The adolescence stage is turbulent and a difficult time for teens. This is a time when your child experiences identity confusion. It is not a question whether he is a boy or a girl but it has something to do with the role he or she is going to play. He or she is often confused: Am I old enough to act like this or too young to act in a certain manner?
As a parent, you need to understand, guide and support your growing child. Understand that his or her hormones make him or her experience mood swings.
2. Determine “teachable moments.” Giving a lecture when he or she is irritated, does not calm him or her down. Instead, wait for the best time when your child is not upset before you talk with him or her.
Tell your child that you are not going to criticize or judge him or her but you want to listen and understand his or her feelings. Let him or her know that whatever you discuss will be kept confidential. In this way, your child will feel comfortable and will open up to you.
3. Uncover the reason of your child’s anger. It will be helpful if you will know why your child is angry. This can be done by asking your child about the reasons for his or her anger. What your teen says may not be fully true but there is at least some truth to it. You do not have to agree with them but you can listen and show them that you care.
4. Keep communication lines open. Your youngster will more likely talk to you about his or her feelings when you do not manifest a judgmental attitude and when you welcome his or her initiative to open up to you.
Open communication will significantly strengthen your relationship. Moreover, when you have a discussion, always remember to listen more and to talk less. In this way, your teen has more time to say what he or she wants to reveal.
5. Be supportive of your teen. Your teen might become moody because of frustration in what he or she has failed to accomplish. Show your support to him or her by encouraging him or her to try again or to look for another activity which he or she can do best or can easily achieve. If he or she asks for advice, then be ready to provide it. However, do not give unsolicited advice.
6. Spend family time together. Make it a habit to spend time with the whole family at least during meal times. When children are used to talking about their feelings, you can easily detect anger and deal with it promptly.
7. Give some space. Though you might have tried to talk your teenager out of his feelings of anger, he or she may still want to spend time on his or her own. Then let him or her do as he or she pleases. If your teenager chooses to talk to a friend or to another person, allow it. It would be good for your child to learn and discover how to handle his or her anger in his or her own way.
The key to all these actions that parents like me can do is to be patient. We’ve got to patiently wait until our teens are able to adjust to the stage in their life which causes them to feel mood swings and fits of anger.
We’ve got to also patiently deal with them during the times that they are not in the mood. The adolescence stage is a time when your teen needs your love the most.