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Angry Teen Or Something More

Angry Teen Or Something More

Parenting Angry Teens

Angry Teen or Something More?

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an angry outburst by your teenage son or daughter? If so, how did you respond to them? Did you get angry back? Did you punish or discipline them? Did you walk away or ignore them? Did you feel unsure in the moment about how to respond? Maybe even a little bit helpless or confused? One of the things that therapists address frequently is parenting angry teenagers. Anger is a normal response to an emotional issue or stressor; however, angry actions can be right or wrong and this is where you can help your teenager to grow. The best way to help your teen is by modeling healthy ways for dealing with your own anger. Another powerful tool you have is to listen, keeping in mind that it’s their emotion or feeling and feelings are neither right nor wrong. Acting in healthy ways, requires that we recognize when we are angry, what makes us angry, and then practicing positive responses.

Therapists work with families to identify the cause of their teen’s anger and assist them in developing healthy coping mechanisms for managing their anger. One way that you can assist in this process is by paying attention to the situation before the angry outburst occurs. Is there a specific event or incident precipitating the anger? When is the teen angry, what is going on and who is involved? Support your teen by making sure that they follow through with assignments, such as keeping an anger diary, which helps identify anger triggers and anger responses to be processed in session. Remember, that being a teenager is no easy task. Oftentimes, there are thinking errors involved in their emotional responses, making it especially frustrating for you as the parent. A therapist will work with your son or daughter to identify these distorted thoughts and correct them. This should help to reduce the negative thoughts and the negative emotions impacting their angry response.

So how do you know when it’s more than just anger? Anger presents in several diagnosable disorders, like oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and other similar behavioral disorders. Work with your therapist to assess for chronic negative emotions, hostility and non-compliant, defiant or aggressive behaviors. Be prepared to discuss the frequency of your son or daughter’s behaviors and the length of time that they have been exhibiting them. The therapist will need to know in what setting they occur and with whom. Last of all listen to your parental instincts, looking at other teenagers’ behaviors to clue you in to what is normal and acceptable.


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Anger is a normal response to an emotional issue or stressor; however, angry actions can be right or wrong and this is where you can help your teenager to grow.