Sometimes, as a parent, you are so close to the situation that it is difficult to be objective about your child’s anger issues. Some parents are quick to brush off signs of anger issues in teens as a normal part of the teenage experience, while others grow very concerned over emotional outbursts and acts of defiance. Anger and defiance in teens can actually be a cry for help.
Remember that anger is a normal, healthy response that is innate in human nature, and is actually part of the fight or flight response. Yelling, arguing, name-calling, and crying can all be normal teenage responses to anger– so long as they do not escalate to violence or rage. However, if your child regularly experiences the “red flag” signs of anger issues below, his or her anger issues may need to be addressed:
- Getting into physical fights at school or at home with siblings
- Excessive arguing with parents, teachers, peers, siblings, etc.
- Excessive emotional outbursts and rage
- Frequent irritability
- Relationship/dating violence
- Verbal threats
- Being cruel to younger siblings or pets (those who can’t defend themselves)
- Physical violence
- Destroying property
- Self-harm (cutting, burning, etc.) **This is a symptom of depression, which can be a culprit of teen anger, emotional outbursts, and defiance
If your teen’s anger goes beyond the normal, emotional response to outside stressors, and your child exhibits the signs of anger issues above, a logical next step is to consult with his or her physician, mental health provider, or educational consultant. A professional will be able to provide the proper guidance to obtaining help for your son or daughter.