Although some parents are all too quick to brush off teen anger and defiance as their child being a “moody teen” or “hormonal,” parents should seek outside help if their child exhibits “red flag signs” that his or her anger is out of control. Those signs could signify an underlying problem, such an undiagnosed mental health issue or an unresolved conflict or trauma that needs to be addressed. If left unresolved, anger can escalate and cause many problems in a young person’s life, including:
- Trouble at school
- Trouble with the law
- Becoming consumed with anger; holding grudges and not being able to leave things in the past when others have wronged them
- Hurting themselves or others
- Strained family and peer relationships
This is why early intervention is vital for teens who need help with anger. In addition to these immediate risks, teens who do not receive help with anger issues are at risk for developing lifelong maladaptive patterns of unhealthy coping mechanisms for anger that will be more difficult to change later in life. These could lead to more serious problems down the road, such as domestic violence.
In addition to helping teens learn healthier coping mechanisms for their anger, early intervention is also vital in helping your teen resolve whatever underlying issues are behind his or her anger problem. For example, if your teen is exhibiting anger and emotional outbursts due to an undiagnosed anxiety disorder, it is much better to address this issue in adolescence, rather than waiting until he or she has reached adulthood. Not only does your child have the potential to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms for anger, but he or she could develop unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety as well.
Help with Anger and Defiance in Teens:
If you suspect that your teen’s acts of anger and defiance are actually a cry for help, speak to his or her physician, mental health provider, or educational consultant to address your concerns. If your child is dealing with an unresolved conflict, trauma, or mental health issues, seeking help is vital to ensuring that he or she grows into a well-adjusted, happy adult.