As defined by the Webster’s dictionary, anger is simply a “strong feeling of displeasure”. In most cases, feeling angry is but healthy and natural. This feeling of displeasure can vary from mild annoyance to intense fury. Anger in some ways motivates a person to make appropriate actions to situations or resolve the things that usually doesn’t work in our lives. When anger reaches the stage of intense rage or fury, that’s where it gets alarming. If we do not manage our anger properly, it can lead to violence and aggression.
Parents raising a teenager may wonder why their teen easily gets angry most of the time? The adolescent stage undergoes a lot of changes, thus, the feeling of anguish that teens would often experience may have been contributed by the following causes:
- Brain Structure – Researchers from the University of Melbourne published the result of their study on “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (February 25, 2008 issue). It was found out that there is a link between adolescent anger to the difference in their brain structure. The amygdala, which is shaped like an almond in the structure of the brain is said to be associated with our emotions and memory. During the course of the research, scientists have measured the sizes of the adolescent’s various regions of the brain where the amygdala was found to be larger than usual as the teens were having provocative discussions with parents. It was also mentioned that major changes in the brain’s structure happens in the early stage of adolescence that largely affects a teen’s social, emotional, and mental development.
- Grief – teens who have gone through a loss or death of a loved may resort to anger as a means to show their feelings of grief. Some teens who have gone through this ordeal may not want to talk about their feelings of grief but instead would act them out through anger. The emotions of helplessness may be dominated by taking their anger out on others. More so if a teen witnesses the death or feels that they are responsible for a person’s death. Extreme stress associated with grief can trigger depression.
- Depression – It is said that depression is anger being suppressed. In fact, a psychotherapist named Dan E. Williams explains that anger is a typical sign of depression in teens. Teenage girls are two times more likely to experience depression than boys. Although boys are more inclined to exhibit feelings of depression through anti-social behavior and anger. Look for more signs of depression if ever your teens are angry most of the time. Other signs would include school problems, trying out drugs or alcohol, eating too little or too much and sleeping problems. Ask for a doctor’s advice if you suspect that your angry teen has depression.
- Psychological Disorders – Anger is a common sign for teens who have psychological disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).
ADHD sufferers find it hard to manage their emotions because they tend to feel deeply about things and finds it hard to express these feelings. People with this disorder can easily experience a quick change in moods and emotional reactions is also quickly provoked. As a teen suffer with ADHD, having an impulsive characteristic will enable them to respond in anger or negative physical reactions.
Teens with ODD often loses their temper, are easily annoyed, blames and annoys others, deliberately defies rules, and generally behaves in an angry and resentful manner. If a teen’s pattern of behavior becomes more frequent and significantly intense as compared to other kids their age then usually they get diagnosed with ODD.
During this period of their development, teenagers normally face various emotional issues such as family conflicts, relationship problems, question of identity, school problems and purpose in life. As teenagers face this challenging emotional roller coaster, parents on the other hand are also having a difficult time with having to deal with their teen’s newly discovered independence. For both parents and their teens, this type of set-up brings about a lot of frustration which often leads to anger and patterns of emotional confrontations between both parties. Where parents react negatively towards their teen’s misdemeanors and the teens reacting back through anger and aggressive behavior.
Parents should learn to listen to their teens and focus on what issues they may be experiencing in order to get to the root of the problem. Communicating properly with them will help establish a mutual understanding on things and do not accuse or blame them as it can only cause more walls to build up. Try to open up about how you feel as a parent and show them how you truly love and care for them. Working towards a common resolution where both parties can both benefit from is much more rewarding than forcing your teens about something they wouldn’t voluntarily want to do.
Lastly, always bear in mind that anger is only a feeling and not a choice. There are more ways to express oneself, not just through anger or aggression. That is why it is important to teach our teens ways to manage anger as early as it manifested before it escalates and becomes even more uncontrollable.