Teaching Teenagers to Manage Anger and Aggression
Adolescence or teenage is a sensitive period in one’s life where a person faces physical, psychological, emotional and social challenges. It is considered the most difficult period of human life where he/she is neither a child nor an adult. Moreover, it is the transition period of between ages 12-20, where the is child becoming an adult. The process brings lots of ups and downs before the adaptation. Since anger is a natural reaction that is used as a protective mechanism to cover up fear, hurt, danger or sadness, anger is common feature in this age group and is a reaction towards challenges in this age group.
Psychological theories explain that anger is not an emotion that we are born with, rather it is learned. Children learn anger when their parents create conflicted environment and when they hear parents’ quarrel or get distressed by violence in the family, school and community.Moreover, there can be various reasons for disturbed mood and emotionality leading to anger among adolescents. Hormones including testosterone, progesterone, and estrogens are responsible for physical changes that are also called secondary sexual characteristics that occur in teenage. Some of the teenagers are not able to cope up with these changes which leads to agitation and mood disturbances (Schafer, 2015).
Other reasons include harassment and abuse. Although abuse and harassment are common in other age groups, this age group is more at risk. Anger is also commonly observed in teens who belong to disadvantaged groups such as minorities because they face greater identity crisis with role confusion as compared to their advantageous peers. Moreover, a competitive academic environment and struggling with career choices may also cause stress and aggression in adolescents.Several other factors contribute toward anger. These include bullying, lack of social support, and personality disorders.
Consequences: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured” (Mark Twain, d.n). Anger and aggression result in restlessness, agitation, substance abuse, overreaction to criticism which may ultimately lead to poor performance in school, college or workplace, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, poor self-esteem, guilt and irregular eating patterns (Nasir & Ghani, 2014) due to which they withdraw from society and go through social isolation (Maanasi, 2017).
Recommendations: Management of anger differs from one individual to the other. The constructive approach to deal with outbursts includes expressing, suppressing and calming. Expression of anger using appropriate communication strategies such as being assertive instead of passive can be a healthy way of coping with anger. To be assertive, a person needs to learn the way to get his or her needs without hurting others. We can suppress our anger by avoiding the thought of anger and consciously focusing on the positive aspects.
Other strategies to deal with anger include identifying triggers of anger and then to work on this technique to walk away from situations that create anger. Teaching youth to use problem solving steps such as identifying the problem, analyzing its cause, identifying the alternative solution and then selecting best solution will help the person to get control over their emotions. Moreover, some problems can be solved individually while in some you need the support of friends and family members. Therefore, teaching teenagers to use available resources to solve issues will help them control their emotional outbursts.
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and yoga can help to relax mind and diverting mind from negative thoughts. Reading books, watching movies are other mind diversion strategies. Changing environment may be helpful. Remembering God and offering prayers helps to enhance tolerance, remain content and avoid negativity.
Conclusion: Adolescence age or teenage is a tempestuous period of life. This period brings several physical, emotional, psychological, and cognitive changes among both male and female genders. Hormones are responsible for bringing about change in adolescence. However, these changes may aggravate feelings of anger among adolescents and cause mood swings. Teens who can’t deal with it might end up having depression. However, there are several ways by which it can be managed and prevented.
1) Nasir, R., & Ghani, N. A. (2014). Behavioral and Emotional Effects of Anger Expression and Anger Management among Adolescents.Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 140, 565-569.
2) American Psychological Association. (2016). Anger control. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx
3) Bullut Serin and Genc, (2011). The effects of anger management education on anger management skills of adolescence. Education and science. 36(59)
4) Causes and effects of adolescent anger. (n.d.).Retreived from https://www.winona.edu/counseloreducation/Images/Causes_and_effects_of_adolescent_anger_Navis.pdf
5) Schafer, C. (2015), Anger & Aggressive Behavior in Teens
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