Anger management for teens

At times of stress, children and teenagers may struggle to manage their emotions. This can lead to anger, aggressiveness and sometimes violence.

It’s important to realise that these aren’t necessarily the emotions your child is trying to show you.

little girl sitting on a bench with red flowers behind her

It’s not just anger

Underneath the anger there may be hurt, fear, frustration or anxious feelings. Getting to the root of the emotion will help you better support your child’s wellbeing.

They might:

  • Feel that their heart is beating faster.
  • Feel tension in their chest.
  • Feel their stomach tighten.

Your child may find it hard to listen or take in information. Allow them to calm down before tackling what’s going on.

Try calming techniques

Suggest some calming techniques. Try these first when your child is a calm place, so they can practise. Different things may appeal depending on the age of your child.

  • Get them to take deep breaths to slow down their heart rate.
  • For younger teens, give them a windmill or some bubbles to blow. Ask them to count how many times the windmill spins or how many bubbles there are.
  • Create a soothing box for comfort when they are struggling. They may want to do this with you or alone.
  • Suggest they kick a ball or run around outside to release energy. Or go for a walk.

Get to the root of the problem

Once your child has calmed down, find a quiet space to talk. They may not always know the language of their emotions. Help them expand their vocabulary so they can describe how they feel.

  • Ask them to share what they feel when they’re angry. What’s happening in their body?
  • Download the anger ladder chart (PDF)  to help them put their emotions into words.
  • Observe what make your child angry. When they’re calm, you can help them recognise these triggers and find other solutions.

 

Teach them about consequences

Children need to understand their actions have consequences. It’s OK to feel angry – everyone does – but it’s not OK to hurt yourself or others or break things. Having clear boundaries and rules helps a child know what to expect.

Involve your child in deciding house rules and the consequences for breaking them. This helps you stay objective and defuses anger caused by unexpected consequences.

Together you might agree on some consequences like:

  • Helping to clean up a mess they’ve made.
  • Fixing the thing they’ve broken (if it’s safe.)
  • Writing a letter of apology to someone they’ve hurt.

You can also read advice on how to handle violent behaviour.

Listen and offer support

Pay attention to your teen and their needs, and encourage positive behaviour.

Go back

Understanding and managing my child’s behaviour

Read

How can I help when my child feels anxious?

Read

What can I do if my child is being violent?

Read

What can I do if my child is self-harming?

Read

Talk to us

Free and confidential live chat with parenting staff. Chat online or request a call back when it’s convenient for you.

Chat icon on mobile phone