Advice for Parenting Teens
Tips from the Teacher
A Parent-Friendly Guide of Teacher Tips and Useful Tricks You Can Use to Help Your Child Succeed in School Today
by Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.
From the National Health Institute|
Helping Your Children Navigate Their Teenage Years:
A Guide for Parents
Managing Anger: Theirs and Yours
Teenage Brain: A work in progress
Warm family relationships can help
protect children from acting
violently, abusing alcohol and other drugs,
or engaging in other high-risk behaviors.
But family members—even in the most
loving families—get angry at one another
from time to time. When families communicate
well and work cooperatively,
anger can be resolved without a problem.
Handled poorly, however, anger gets in
the way of good communication between
parent and child. Anger without control
can sometimes be dangerous and may
even become violent.
Many adults are not good at managing
anger, and expressing this emotion in a
healthy way. Some adults see anger as an
emotion that should be suppressed,
because it leads to trouble. Some grew up
in families in which anger generally led to
explosive behavior and even violence.
Others were taught that it is not "nice
to be angry. It's important that parents
know how to manage anger successfully
in family life, at work, and in the community.
And that same knowledge needs
to be shared with children, so that they
learn this important skill.
My teenage son doesn't know how to
handle his intense feelings. He talks back
to us and even swears at us. He doesn't
do what we ask him to do. He seems to
be trying to aggravate us. I get so angry I
blow up. We end up screaming at each
other and saying things we regret. I feel
like things are out of control.
With the many changes that occur during
adolescence, it's not unusual for teenagers
to feel anger and resentment toward parents.
Adolescents struggle to establish
prepare for adulthood. Sometimes anger is
their way of asserting independence. This
can wear thin on parents, who may fight
back with their own anger, creating a
vicious circle of escalating resentment.
The best solution to out-of-control
anger—whether from a parent or from a
teen—is to step back, and identify more
positive, healthy ways to deal with strong
feelings. We do this when we can calm
down and respond in a disciplined and
thoughtful way. By maintaining composure,
parents can be good role models and
open the door to constructive communication
with their children.
But how do you keep calm when
you feel pushed to the limit? Here are
Tips for Calming Down
- Pick your battles. Sometimes the issue
is not worth the anger, or worth arguing
- Take a deep breath; count to ten.
Think about the issue before a single
word comes out of your mouth.
- Go for a walk.
- Use "self-talk to calm down. That is,
say something soothing to yourself such
as: "I need to relax and stay calm. I can't
afford to blow up.
- Reframe the issue. For example, when
your son says something rude to you, it
may be less a matter of him disrespecting
you than a sign that he has a problem
with his anger. "Framing it this way, you
focus on the fact that he needs your help
in overcoming this problem.
- Use humor. Humor can sometimes be
a good way to calm anger, but be sure
not to use sarcasm, which can sometimes
Sometimes the hardest part of helping
children learn to manage their anger is that
parents have to look at their own practices.
Parents need to ask:
- Do I express anger in positive and
- Do I resolve conflict well?
- Have I taught my children to accept
and express their anger?
Resolving conflict constructively may be
a huge challenge, but it's an absolute
necessity for the sake of every member of
Once you are calm, you are in a better
position to address the issues that caused
the conflict. Here are some tips:
- Give your point of
view. State the
problem as you see it;
speak clearly and calmly—
- Ask to hear your teen's
point of view.
- Pay attention, listen,
and carefully consider
what your teen is saying.
- Discuss ways to solve the dispute
without a battle.
- Practice the art of compromise.
Find the middle ground you
can both live with comfortably.
- Assert your authority, when
appropriate, but in a calm, yet firm
What If the Anger Doesn't Stop?
When anger becomes a chronic problem for
someone in the family, the underlying issue
may be larger than you or your teen can
manage. If you even think your family is at
this crisis point, or if you even think you or
any member of your family has a serious
problem with anger management, it's time
to seek help from a mental health professional.
Recognize that this situation necessitates
counseling, and sometimes that means
the entire family will need help.
All material in this fact sheet is in the public domain and may be copied or reproduced without permission from the Institute. Citation of the source is appreciated.