Teenagers feel deeply. Emotions may be all over the place. One minute all is well and the next all sorts of unexpected feelings bubble up. While anger may seem to be a primary emotion, often anger is only the result of fear, hurt or pain. Part of the teen years is learning to process different emotions and learning positive ways of dealing with them. This is easier for some teens than others due to personality, background, family situations and hurts and struggles they bring with them into the teen years.
It is important to help teens deal with anger by discovering the root cause of it. The two sides of assisting teens in managing anger is to one, understand cause and two, learning self-control by and directing anger in more positive directions.
Journal Have teens journal their thoughts and feelings. There are any number of journals with covers that invite and motivate. Pens as well come in all sorts of colors and designs. A journal can also be kept online. But it is important to keep these journals private. If shared, what is meant for self-revelation can become something with which to brag about. If someone else gets a hold of the journal, the result can be used against the teen who journals. Privacy is key to a positive result with this activity.
Learn From Words The teens use the journals to help them deal with their anger by sharing their feelings and emotions in the journal. Pouring out how they feel on paper or online, in text format, helps diffuse their anger and other volatile emotions. Once on paper, the teens can reread what they’ve written and get a better understanding of why they became so angry. Knowing why is the first step to dealing with that anger.
Triggers Journaling is not about diary writing, such as how the day went or a list of activities. Journaling is about writing down the times of anger and what prompted them. Journaling lowers stress and helps clarify why they responded with anger. Writing things down can also help point out triggers for the anger. Once a teen becomes aware of their “triggers,” they can learn ways to avoid or to otherwise diffuse the situation.
Real Life Situations For teens who have not learned self-control or to reign in their tendency to act out in anger, real life conflict situations can help them learn better anger management techniques. For these type of activities, there needs to be trained volunteers who will not respond negatively should the teen show anger.
Situations can be set up to push those anger buttons. As the teen responds, show them positive ways they can respond to the situations. Help them learn to show restraint, even direct anger into helping instead of hurting others. With role play, teens can unlearn negative ways of responding and learn better, more productive ways, to respond.
Consequences Teens with anger problems need to understand the consequences of their behavior. This can be accomplished in several ways. If the teens are readers, provide examples in books of negative behavior stemming from anger and the even worse negative consequences of such behavior. Movies, videos or television shows can also be used in a visual activity. Ask the teens to note behavior from anger, cause, action and consequences. Discuss choices that could have led to a better outcome. Point out that anger leading to acting out hurts innocent people, often those they care about the most.
Positive activities helps teens learn to understand and manage their anger. Doing so also helps them gain confidence to deal with all aspects of their lives.