Anger Management Tips for Tweens and Teens

tween practicing anger management
Photo By mooremedia/shutterstock

Does your tween or teen often find themselves in trouble because of anger or react to situations and later regret how they behaved? Does her anger cause problems with other people, or does he express that he is tired of letting anger control him? It is important to understand that anger is a natural feeling and that everyone experiences it in some way. What is important to be aware of is how your child handles their anger.

Since anger affects millions of preteens and teens, it is important to understand that your child is not alone. In order to best help them, it is important to help them gain a greater sense of self-awareness in order to be better able to know what triggers their anger, as well as how to effectively communicate their feelings with someone who can be trusted. Once your tween or teen learns how to recognize their own anger, they can begin to change how they respond to anger. This can ultimately lead your child on the path towards a greater sense of peace and happiness.

Here are some tips that can help your tween or teen get through anger in a healthy manner:

For Parents

Try and recognize the causes of her anger.

Is she trying to tell you that she wants more respect? Sometimes, your tween/teen will aggressively fight for a sense of independence and autonomy.

Is her anger getting triggered in school only?

If so, try to find out what is going on during the school day. Is she struggling in one specific academic subject that is causing a great deal of frustration, embarrassment or shame, or is she being teased by other kids? By reaching out to your child’s school counselor, you might be able to begin this investigation process without your child thinking that you are invading her privacy. School counselors can discreetly broach these topics without mentioning any prior conversation with a parent.

Pay attention to the behaviors that are modeled in the house.

Try modeling healthy behaviors so that she learns acceptable ways of handling anger. A good modeling technique is showing your child that you take a walk to calm down and then speak about your anger. If your child is exposed to anger on a regular basis in the home, she might tend to get angry more easily. Changing the way that family members handle anger will take time, but the more times she sees anger handled in a calmer manner, the more likely she will begin to pick up these healthy changes.

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It is important for both parents to consistently treat a child with respect and kindness.

If she feels unwanted, controlled, manipulated or ignored, she will be more likely to fill up with anger. Try and listen to her and hear what she has to say and feels inside. It is also helpful to be realistic with your expectations for your child and to not compare one of your children to another.

Learn to admit your flaws.

Sometimes parents will express their anger in an unhealthy manner as well. What will be most helpful to your child is admitting that you too need to work on your own anger management, and that you will do it together as a team.

It is OK to show tough love to your tween/teen.

Establish clear consequences for unhealthy behavior and remain fair and consistent with all of your children. Note: you can create a discipline plan with your child that will help her have more control of her actions and consequences.  While creating this plan, you can speak about healthy alternatives to handling anger.

It is important to have conversations with your child about anger when she is feeling calm.

You can do this shortly after the anger episode so that her feelings and emotions can still be remembered. By trying to speak with her about feelings when she is angry, she will not be able to listen to or process what you are saying. It is important to express sympathy to your child and remind her that everyone gets angry and that you understand how she is feeling. Most importantly, remain calm when you are dealing with your teen or tween who is angry. This will remind her that you are working together as a team.

Try picking your battles.

If your child regularly handles anger in an unhealthy manner, perhaps you create a scale from 1 to 10 and only intervene when her anger is at a 6 or above. This can be incorporated into the consequence plan that you both create together.

Try limiting the amount of violent media exposure that your child is exposed to.

For Your Tween or Teen

Learn his anger profile.

It is important for your him to recognize his own personal anger profile so that he can stop the anger before it fully comes through.

Create a game plan as well as short and long term goals.

Your child can create a game plan for how to tackle things that might challenge or frustrate him.

Reward himself.

It is a great idea for your son to reward himself whenever one of his goals is accomplished.

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Keep an anger log.

It is important for your child to gain a better awareness of all of the situations that trigger anger. It is also important for him to keep notes on what he does when he gets angry, as well as begin to recognize the consequences of his anger.

Understand physical response to anger.

Since anger causes heightened stress, as well as higher blood pressure, headaches, stomachaches and heart problems, it is important for your son or daughter to become more aware of how anger affects his/her body.

Learn to calm down.

It is important for young adults to learn what activities help them calm down and keep their anger in check. Activities such as exercising, yoga, meditation, writing, or even listening to music can be very helpful.

Learn to laugh at their anger.

Being able to laugh at oneself and use humor to reduce tension can be valuable ways to get through anger.

happy family in bed
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Dr. Allison Johnson, PhD, LAC, of Dr. Johnson Counseling Services, LLC, is a therapist and educational psychologist who specializes in therapy for children, adolescents and adults in Bergen County.  She is a Licensed Associate Counselor, a certified school counselor, teacher and school administrator who focuses on helping adolescents and young adults with issues related to body image and self-esteem, relationships, anger management, coping and stress management, transition, and career development and exploration.  Additionally, she has a great deal of experience working with at-risk adolescents on an academic, personal, social and emotional level.  Dr. Johnson earned her doctoral degree from Fordham University.  You can contact her at the following:  Phone: (973) 769-6304, Email: [email protected] , Website:

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