When a toddler has a hard time controlling his anger, he may dissolve in a temper tantrum. A teenager who struggles with similar self-control issues may also display an unpleasant loss of control when he becomes angry or frustrated. If your teen begins losing his temper and throwing things, you've got an explosive situation that demands a firm and steady parental hand. It's imperative that your response to your teen's loss of control does not mirror his behavioral mistakes.
Breathe deeply and maintain your own self-control when your teenager loses hers. It's important to set the right example for your child that you want her to follow, according to educator Sara Bean, with the Empowering Parents website. If you reinforce aggressive behavior and a loss of self-control by behaving in a similar way, your teen might have a harder time regaining and maintaining her own control.
Resist the urge to try to exert control over your out-of-control adolescent. This is not likely to help and could even incite more anger in your teenager.
Give your teenager some physical and emotional space to calm down. Remove other family members from the environment and retreat to a bedroom or another area of the home, advises HelpGuide.org, a nonprofit family resource.
Return to your teenager after she regains her composure. If you find evidence of continued damage after you left the room, calmly inform your teen that you're unhappy that she broke your items. Institute a logical consequence for the damage, possibly including paying for or replacing the items.
Offer empathy and concern for the feelings that precipitated the outburst, once your child is calm. Your concern and respectful approach should help your teen feel supported, which might encourage him to accept your help and express his feelings more appropriately, according to educator Marie Hartwell-Walker, writing for the Psych Central website.
Discuss a more appropriate method of expressing anger and resolving these feelings. You might suggest that your teenager take a walk, listen to music, meditate, talk to a friend or write or sketch out his feelings, suggests the TeensHealth website. The bottom line of your message: "Anger is acceptable, normal and expected -- acting out in an aggressive or violent manner to express it is not acceptable."
Institute clear consequences for your teenager to experience if she loses control of her anger again, according to HealthGuide.org. A clear consequence such as the loss of her cellphone for a few days will help your teen learn to think carefully before making similar mistakes.
Seek professional assistance for your teenager if he will not demonstrate self-control or if you feel that he threatens your family's safety. Counseling can teach your child anger-management skills and you might also learn techniques for parenting your teen more effectively.