Today's Angry Teens

Lately, several parents asked: "Where is my teen's anger coming from?" Teenagers, like adults, experience stress every day. The stubborn and argumentative teen is fighting for independence and less control by his or her parents. An angry teen is battling with daily difficulties and is trying to make sense of emotional issues, such as:

changes in their bodies

trying to establish an identity

dealing with friends

positive and negative peer pressure

school demands

separation or divorce of parents

being accused of something they did not do

being treated unfairly

not getting a chance to voice their opinion

chronic illness or death of a loved one

taking on too many activities

parents' high expectations

It's no surprise that our teens might become overloaded with stress. Teenagers have poor coping skills, and getting angry is the only way they know how to avoid feeling sad, hurt, or afraid.

Teens also have unreasonable expectations, especially if they are used to getting what they want when they want it. If this does not happen, or they realize that things are not always within their control - they get angry.

Their anger can take many forms - some teens might repress their anger and withdraw, while others get defiant, destructive or turn to alcohol and drugs.

Various situations can bring out feelings of anger. Parents are often caught by surprise and react by either yelling or arguing back, or punishing their teen for showing their anger.

Instead, parents need to see this show of anger or rage as a signal that their teen is battling with or facing a situation they cannot handle on their own, or is overwhelmed by the demands of his or her daily live.

Fortunately parents have many options to help their teens through their frustration and cope with everyday pressure:

Ask your teen what unresolved conflict he or she is facing

Listen to your teen

Focus on his or her feelings

Understand the situation from your teen's perspective

Help your teen work towards a solution

Show your teenager that you care

Unresolved issues can escalate to physical violence, addictions, and psychosomatic disorders. This can devastate your teens life by destroying relationships, clouding effective thinking, and ruining his or her future. Seek professional help for your teen, yourself, and or your family if necessary.

Christina Botto, author of Help Me With My Teenager! A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents that Works and Fitting The Pieces has been involved with helping parents and their teens resolve complicated issues for more than 16 years. She also owns Parenting A Teenager - a site that offers a variety of tools and resources to help parents understand their teens.

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