Some parents will hesitate to seek help for anger issues in teens, brushing off problematic anger as “teenage angst” or “growing pains.” If your son or daughter’s anger issues and emotional outbursts have become problematic, then early intervention is key to helping him or her deal with anger in a healthy way. Every individual is different; your child’s treatment options will depend on the following factors:
- Type of diagnosis your child receives or issue(s) he/she is facing
- The extent of his/her symptoms
- Your child’s age, healthy, and medical history
- Your preference(s)
- Your child’s response to clinical/behavioral intervention
- Your child’s response to certain medication(s) and/or therapies
While every individual is different, here are some common, effective treatment options for defiance, emotional outbursts, and anger issues in teens.
As discussed previously, emotional outbursts and problematic anger issues in teens are likely the result of an underlying mental health problem, neuro-developmental issue, or an unresolved conflict/trauma. Aside from uncovering any unresolved issues or diagnoses, counseling helps teens to learn how to express their emotions, rather than keeping them bottled up until the next outburst. Psychotherapy helps teens to work through their anger, rather than letting their anger control them.
Medication (depending on diagnosis)
Depending on your child’s diagnosis, he or she may be prescribed medication to help with any underlying diagnosis he or she receives. Some teens who are diagnosed with depression are too young for certain antidepressants; some teens with ADHD do not respond as well to stimulant medications. It is important to find a mental healthcare provider who has a lot of experience working with teens to ensure that your child receives adequate treatment.
Anger Management Classes
Aside from regular psychotherapy sessions, your child’s healthcare provider may suggest anger management classes as well. These classes cover effective, healthy coping mechanisms to help your teen recognize angry feelings and deal with his or her anger issues in-the-moment. Your child may learn breathing techniques, relaxation skills, and proper ways to express angry feelings to others.
Residential treatment programs
Sometimes, when traditional talk therapy isn’t enough, a residential treatment program may be helpful for your teen. While there are a plethora of residential treatment programs qualified to help your child, it is important to do your research and find a credible program. One of these residential options is wilderness therapy. One advantage of wilderness therapy programs is that they allow teens to get away from distractions of everyday life and get to the root of the problem by learning effective coping skills that translate well back into the “real world.” Even though sending your child away for treatment is difficult, doing the best thing for your son or daughter is not always the easy thing.
If you are concerned about your child’s anger, emotional outbursts, and defiance, speak to his or her physician, mental health provider, or educational consultant for advice about treatment options. They will be able to help recommend a treatment option that is right for your teen.