Encourage your teen to let go of his anger.

How to Get a Teenager to Release Built Up Anger

by Erin Schreiner

Is your teen angry? If your teen is like most, the answer is yes, suggests a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry by Harvard Medical School psychiatric epidemiologist Ronald Kessler. As reported by ABC news, approximately two-thirds of all teens stated that they have experienced “anger attacks,” when surveyed as part of Kessler’s study. Particularly if your teen has exhibited fits of anger in the past, helping him release his anger in a productive and safe manner is a worthwhile endeavor.

Explore the reasons for your teen’s anger. Many parents, in a rush to move past fits of anger, don’t give adequate attention to anger causes, states Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, author of "The Anger Workbook for Teens, writing for Psychology Today. When your child gets angry, speak to him about why he is so upset. If he is too angry to articulate his feelings, let him cool down before persisting. Don’t, however, drop the topic entirely until you have pinpointed the source of your teen’s anger. Once you find what has made him so angry, talk through it, allowing him to release his upset in productive conversation instead of acting out in violence or yelling.

Teach your teen how to express his feelings in words. Your teen may be bottling up his anger because he doesn’t know how to express his upset -- aside from connecting his fist to the wall. Encourage your teen to use emotion words. Discuss the meaning of words like frustrated and annoyed, providing him with a vocabulary of feeling words to use in expressing himself the next time he feels upset.

List anger release options. Show your teen that there is more than one way to express his upset by creating a list of ways in which he can let go of his anger, suggests TeensHealth.org. If he is clearly upset about something, give him some paper and ask him to write down a list containing all of the possible ways he could release his emotions, both positive and negative methods. His list could include: talk about it, or hit something and cry. After he has composed his list, sit down and discuss the benefits and weaknesses of each choice.

Provide a physical outlet for his angry energy. Though it won’t take the place of talking about his emotions, if your teen has communicated the cause of, and reasons for, his anger, but is still struggling to calm down, giving him something physical to do might help, states Lohmann. Shoot some hoops with your teen, join him on a run or take him to a boxing gym and let him hit a punching bag in a safe, controlled environment.

About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.

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