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Confidence & Self Esteem

Fighting Fair: Teen Anger Management

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Getting angry...Venting like a tornado


When Kristin gets upset with someone, she completely shuts down. She snubs her friends for hours, even days, until her funk lifts. Because she hates to fight, she'll get whiny and make everyone around her feel guilty rather than talking about what's bothering her. By swallowing her anger, she thinks she's getting away with dealing with how she feels. It's not like she's not getting worked up...she is. Kristin deals with her anger by keeping it all bottled up inside.


On the other hand, when Amanda gets angry, you could boil a pot of water on her head. There's no simmering stage where she's concerned. When she sees red, she becomes completely insensitive and won't listen to anyone. If she gets ticked off, beware. Her venting is like a 200-mile-per-hour tornado. In other words, this teenager's anger management is out of control.


What makes us mad and how we show it is partly the function of the temperament we're born with and partly a reflection of how confident we feel. If we don't learn to understand and control our anger in a healthy way, we run the risk of either swelling up and exploding (and developing the first stages of heart disease, even as teenagers) or, appearing crass and stupid, by mean name-calling and embarrassing loud conversation.


There's nothing wrong with getting angry. In fact, it's a signal worth listening to. But first, it's important to distinguish between what's annoying and what's infuriating. A friend who ignores you can make you feel unimportant. A teacher who is sarcastic can make you feel stupid. Our anger is a reaction to feeling powerless, uninteresting, or out of control. How we deal with our anger when we're made to feel this way is completely individual.


The truth looks simple when we're angry. We are right, and they are wrong. What pushes your buttonsbeing kept waiting, feeling betrayed, being left out? Not getting paid back, being asked for your homework all the time, being unjustly blamed for something? And who knows best how to set you off? Your parents, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a sibling, a teacher?


No matter the circumstances, the teenagers' anger management drill is the same. Take a few deep breaths. Be honest, concerned, and respectful, even if the other person isn't. And assume responsibility for your role in the situation.


Here are some teenagers' anger management techniques to help you better handle this powerful emotion. Think of anger as a carton of milk; if you keep it too long, it becomes a curdled, foul-smelling mess. What's the worst thing that can happen if you expressed your feelings? 

  1. Just because you're angry doesn't mean it has to end in an ugly confrontation. If you're seeing red, take a time out. Avoid calling people names or being insulting.
  2. Try to understand where the other person is coming from. Don't assign blame. Say "I feel" or "I think," rather than "You always" or "You should."
  3. Ask questions. Listen to the answers carefully. Does she know you're mad at her? If not, why?
  4. Cooperation is always key when you're trying to straighten out a misunderstanding. Show you expect that a compromise can be reached.
  5. Concentrate on the matter at hand. Avoid bringing up other issues from the past.
  6. Don't be afraid to apologize.
  7. Avoid power struggles. It's really okay to be wrong.

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