The Ultimate Guide to Helping Your Angry Teen

Managing an angry teen in today’s climate is extremely challenging. It may seem like there is no end to the influx of angry emotions coming your way. How can you take charge and support your angry teen, when it seems they don’t want the help?  

Helping your teen with their anger, may seem virtually impossible. It may impact your entire day… especially when things get bad. It may also affect the lives of other family members. Thus creating more conflict in the household because everyone is on edge. If we can’t help our teens manage and cope with intense emotions like anger, the problem only is exacerbated. Just like anything… when we avoid dealing with… it eventually gets worse. 

Perhaps your teen just can’t take being isolated (or restricted) any longer. They feel restless and disconnected from their friends. They feel misunderstood, reactive and MAD…and you feel helpless because everything you say just seems to frustrate them even more. 

woman laying on stone wall

Eventually, you also wind up in an angry place. You may wonder why you also get so riled up when your teen is this way. Please know, you are not alone…. In fact, many parents seek teen therapy for this very reason. They feel powerless as their teen struggles to manage their emotions. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed in the moment… but there are ways to overcome these obstacles. 

It’s true that helping your angry teen is a struggle. However, there is support. When you understand the skills needed to help your teen in the moment it is entirely possible to provide support. You will be better able to help them cope and gain perspective into their life. Keep reading for everything you need to know about helping your angry teen. I want you to be able to enjoy the relationship you have with your teen and align with them.

The Ultimate Guide to Helping your Angry Teen

Learn to Lead

Leading involves modeling and being confident and connected with yourself before you can help your angry teenager. Modeling and leading your teen involves taking a good look at your own thoughts, feelings and behavior. Are you angry? Would you consider yourself a pessimist? Are you critical of yourself and/or your teen? Really think about those questions. Do raise your voice when your teen raises theirs? Perhaps this is all automatic and you’ve never even thought about it. Reactive behavior such as this, can set us up for trouble and send messages that are aggressive or explosive words. Maybe you are caught up in a pattern of “whoever shouts the loudest wins.” As you can imagine, this will be a hard recipe for success. 

When you learn, as a parent, to connect with your own thoughts and behavior, you will begin to evaluate how you express anger. It is widely known that research indicates that children even at a small age begin to look to their parents as a model to learn behavior. Think of it as a mirror… your teen mirrors you. What are your thoughts on the reflections you see?

How does leading work for helping angry teens?

You may be wondering what “leading” looks like with an angry teen? The best way to untangle this is to think of a leader or role model you may know or respect. A leader models conscious reactions and thinks before acting out impulsively. One way to implement this in your family, is to pay close attention to yourself.… If you notice in a disagreement, your teen starts to raise their voice and become elevated DON’T match them! Instead, lower your voice and be aware of your language choice and tone, and most importantly the feeling you have in your body. Be the voice of reason and avoid a heated power struggle. 

When your teen is angry and acting out… lower your vibrations and remember that you are the adult and you are here to model and lead your teen on what it means to feel angry. You will be a mirror to reflect back to them and teach them how it’s done. I know this may feel easier said than done but we know that when you work on these things your whole family will feel the difference. 

One strategy to help your angry teens is to pay attention to the way you communicate direction or feedback. If a teen perceives your language to be aggressive or passive aggressive, they may up the ante and become aggressive right back. Instead, try what I call the “Sandwich Method” of feedback. In the Sandwich Method of feedback, you start the discussion with something you appreciate or value about your teen, then approach the desired change (delicately, but assertively), then follow up with another positive attribute or hope for the relationship. 

boy sitting on yellow broken car

In teen therapy in Simi Valley, Ca I work with families on communicating using the sandwich technique. Here is an example of a role play between a parent and teen: 

“Jenny, you know I love you and want us to get along better…” 

“I feel uncomfortable and disrespected when there is shouting, and it makes me want to shout back…it really doesn’t feel good” 

“I want us to work on it together and make a change because I want to be close to you and for us to have a healthy relationship, where we both feel heard.”

One thing to realize is the example above is the ideal, and not the standard so it may not be exact or fluid and it does take a lot of practice, patience and the ability to hear the other person, which involves really paying attention

When used regularly, clients learn to actively listen and respond from a more logical and less emotional place. Teens feel heard and get to watch what you’re like when you feel heard too. Also, when teens get feedback that is strength based, like the Sandwich Method, it instills confidence in them. It shows that you also believe in them and they can lean on you and trust you with their feelings and to help them work through the anger. 

Who is best for helping a teen with anger?

When you are attuned to your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors you will be in the best position to help your angry teen. Remember those questions about if you are angry and judgmental (towards yourself and your teen)? If you, as a parent, allow yourself to be vulnerable and honestly answer those questions (without beating yourself up) then you can begin to understand how you process feelings. Connecting with your own feelings and emotions, will better equip your teen with how to manage their anger because they are learning from you. If you are disconnected or in denial about how you react, your teen might just follow your lead… and deny their own anger too. 

The reason why this type of parent is best for helping teens with anger, is the ability to dig deep and see themselves in a kind, yet honest way. When parents can identify areas where they may want to grow and improve this insight can be taught to your teen. 

In teen therapy near Thousand Oaks, Ca this may look like being able to go deeper and talk about the hard stuff under the surface and face scary things. Maybe they are from your past, or deep traumas… the more you can lean into the “why’ of your behavior, the more you can identify patterns within yourself and your teen… and really improve them in a deeper way.

2 young women sitting on white sand and looking away

Who needs more support before being able to help a teen with anger?

Although my personal belief is that everyone has the capacity to grow when they are ready and (key word) willing, there are some personalities or traits that are more difficult  in helping a teen with anger. An uninvolved parent or a parent who is not committed to healthy communication will have more difficulty helping an angry teen. 

A parent who struggles with finding their own voice or struggles from mental health issues of their own…like anxiety typically need some individual support to help them best support their teen. However through insight and learning, a parent can develop healthy ways of interacting and feel comfortable modeling appropriate reactions and begin to….yes… Learn to lead their teen.

What can you expect from learning to lead and helping your teen with anger? 

In learning to lead and model for your teen when they are angry, you will develop skills like how to give feedback that feels good for everyone and how to help your teen identify and connect to their triggers. Also, you will learn the value of a good pause and how taking a personal time out is a good thing. . In addition, learning to model and lead can help you adjust your expectations with your teen (and yourself).

What are the next steps to helping my teen with anger?

Going forward, you can learn more about helping your teen with anger here at Simi Psychological Group through our blogs, videos or collection of helpful tips available to you free of charge! We are best able to help you and your teen in teen therapy, online therapy, and anxiety treatment services. Contact us for more information and to learn how we can help. 

Although you may struggle with helping your angry teen, you have the potential to connect with them, model and guide them through their anger and help them express it in a healthy way that works for them. You have the opportunity and ability to boost your confidence in your own parenting, learn something about yourself and support your teen when they are feeling angry and connect with them in a much deeper and authentic way. 

Becoming an emotional leader for your teen to model can be a meaningful way to connect to feelings that come up, especially anger.  Once you can effectively and confidently use these strategies to be the voice of reason, you can absolutely help your teen through the process and Simi Psychological Group can help…

About the author

Dr. Reena Becerra

therapist in Simi Valley ca

I believe that through self-compassion, inspiration and hope it is possible for anyone to reach their deepest and truest goals.My focus is working with children, adolescents, and families that struggle with Anxiety, ADHD, Depression and relationship issues. I also have a strong passion for working with adults with a history of trauma. Healing, self-love and acceptance and growing through transformation, are all within reach. Learning to truly love and connect with one’s self and others is a true gift and it is my honor to be on this journey with you. Learn more

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