How to cope with anger and aggression in kids

Mother and teenage daughter sitting on couch
Mother and teenage daughter sitting on couch

It is a common knowledge that parenting a teenager is never easy. Emotions, hormones, shifting of responsibility; they all come into play during the transition between adolescence and adulthood.
There is “typical teenage behaviour,” regarding attitude adjustments and perhaps even some rebellion. The testing of boundaries along with the flood of oestrogen or testosterone that is entering your teen’s body can contribute to lack of control.
However, when your teen is violent, acting out, abusing drugs or alcohol, lying, vandalizing or other reckless deeds, it can seem overwhelming. A cycle of despair and worry can overcome parents trying to handle these serious issues.
For non-risk situations, there are steps you can take at home to help ease the tensions of young adulthood and curtail irritability. Here are seven quick ways to constructively head off explosive situations before they arise:
1- Understand The Underlying Issues. Find out what is at the root of the aggression? Parents can help to alleviate explosive tendencies by examining the causes. Are they having peer trouble? Experiencing severe lack of sleep? Academic pressure built up? Battling depression? If their outbursts seem to have a trigger, keep track of it.
2- Maintain Boundaries. When your teenager has a clear understanding of what is expected of them, they have a better chance of managing their sea of turmoil when they are struggling. Parents need to be sure to follow through on consequences, even if it is difficult. Headaches now are better than jail time later.
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3- Establish A Routine. When the day to day, week to week rhythms of life are natural and consistent, your teenager knows what to expect. This creates calm in the waves of hormonal chaos. Their emotions may feel out of their control, but if their surrounding world has order and dependability, they will feel grounded and be less likely to act out in dangerous ways.
4- Find Healthy Outlets For Anger. Contact sports, or directed energy exercise and activity can help to relieve anger. Running track, hitting a punching bag, or even joining a community aerobics class can all be of high benefit to channel their energy from something negative into something positive.
5- Keep Your Own Temper In Check. If parents cannot manage their own anger, they will be of little help to their aggressive teenager. If this is an area you find yourself struggling with, seek council from a pastor or anger management professional. Work towards achieving and maintaining balance along with your child. When you demonstrate healthy ways to reach out, you help your child do the same.
6- Nutrition And Rest. A proper diet can go a long way in helping behavioural problems. American diets are so full of sugar, caffeine and processed foods that our bodies don’t know how to handle it. Also, lack of proper sleep scheduling can also be a contributing factor. Sleep deprivation can build up from a lack of continuous restful hours, not only dramatic gaps. Make sure your teen is eating real, whole foods with proper nutrients and getting at least 12 hours of sleep every night.
7- Create A Cool-down Plan. When your teenager is dealing with high emotions, have a plan in action. Counting and breathing can help to regulate internal boiling points. Give space for them to mentally cool down and recharge. Small breaks in their room, an hour at the community rec centre, or a journal to keep as a writing outlet are all tools to use.

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