Parenting a Troubled Teen: How to Deal with Explosive Anger

Mother scolding her angry teenager daughter at home - angry teen

 You ask your teen to do a chore, such as cleaning their room. Of course, they don’t want to do that.

And then it begins.

Both of you start to argue with each other. The words fly back and forth faster and have a more cutting edge.

Finally, your teen explodes in anger and rage.

They feel that you are treating them like a child and want to be left alone. You respond back with anger as well, saying things you will wish you could take back later.

Your teen storms away, leaving you both frustrated and angry.

Does this sound familiar?

If so, consider these ideas for how to parent a teen with anger more effectively.

4 Top Tips to Support Your Angry Teen

Remember to keep your cool

First, when parenting a teen who struggles with anger, it is essential that you do not lose your composure and get angry, too. Anger only feeds anger, creating a vicious spiral in which no one wins, and everyone loses.

A typical scenario during arguments is trying to “one-up” each other. That is, attempting to make the perfect comment that wins the argument in your favour. What happens, though, is that neither of you wins. Instead, the words each of you say only makes the situation worse, possible with long-lasting consequences.

Therefore, avoid getting sucked into the spiral in the first place. Stay cool instead.

Be consistent with expectations and boundaries

Another vital part of parenting a troubled teen is consistency with expectations and boundaries. You can do this by creating a plan that involves standard expectations such as making the bed, doing chores, schoolwork, etc. And then, add boundaries and consequences to this plan.

For instance, let’s say the expectation is that your teen goes to school. However, they decide to skip their classes. The consequence could be that they lose driving privileges for a week.

Remember, though, to include your child in the process of setting boundaries and enforcing appropriate consequences. That way, they will have more ownership over a common framework, rather than you dictating to them what to do.

Avoid labelling your teen

It’s easy to just see the emotions on the surface when your teen becomes angry. Those situations can be terrifying. Your child may say or do things that you find bizarre or out of character.

For example, they may react with:

  • Yelling and screaming
  • Swearing
  • Punching holes in walls or doors
  • Breaking things, even those that you or they find to be valuable
  • Walking out of the house
  • Experiencing “road rage” while driving
  • Being physically aggressive against you or others

Because they do these things, it is tempting to label them as a “jerk” or worse. However, labels like that don’t really help. Instead, they only contribute to widening the distance between both of you.

Look beyond the anger

Take a moment to step back and do an honest appraisal. Consider why your teen is angry and look for a deeper meaning. After all, anger is often just a mask for other emotions that are more difficult to express.

Fear is one example. Your teen may be angry because they are afraid of something. Or, they could be in great emotional pain. Perhaps they are coping with the loss of a romantic relationship or some other life event of which you might be unaware.

There are so many possibilities. However, keep in mind when parenting your child always to consider the “why” behind their anger.

Experiencing your teen explode with anger is always difficult. Even if you have seen this many times before, it’s not something that you get used to.

That’s why it’s vital that you remain in control and avoid getting drawn into the argument. Also, stay consistent and avoid labelling your teen. Finally, considering the deeper reasons why your teen gets angry.

Applying these suggestions will help you more effectively parent your teen and give them the love, support and understanding they really need.

Getting Further Support

Sometimes, even after you have done everything you can, communication can breakdown and endless arguments, or the silent treatment, is often the result. When that happens, it can be useful to talk with someone who’s not involved and doesn’t have a stake in the argument.

Speaking with a counsellor can help diffuse and resolve such conflicts and can work in different ways. You could come on your own, to help you reflect and work out better ways to listen and respond to your teen. Or they might prefer a space where they can let off steam and work through the things that might be troubling them. Alternatively, you might come to counselling together, to help you all communicate and understand one another’s perspective. Maybe a combination of options would be better.

If you would like to discuss your situation with a trained counsellor, or would like to make an appointment, please call us on 0151 329 3637 or complete our online referral form and we will contact you. We’d love to hear from you.


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