One minute they’re begging you to hold them close and tell them a bedtime story, and the next they’re defying your rules and shouting those three deep-cutting words – “I. Hate. You.”
With hormones out of whack and self-identity in question, a teen has every reason to feel angry and overwhelmed at times.
As a parent, it’s normal to feel deeply hurt by your teen’s harsh words and treatment – but it’s a mistake to return the rejection. A vicious cycle of shouting and threats will never achieve peace in the home.
The good news is, you’re not alone. Parents everywhere, every day are desperately seeking a way to end their children’s unbridled anger.
First, it’s important to understand that anger is a response to pain. A wise parent looks to find and address the root cause and then try to help the child manage anger – and ultimately develop into the adult God desires.
The first step is a simple one: listen – without bias or judgment. Ask your child, “What’s going on at school?” or “How has your day been going?” to garner insight into what pains and difficulties he or she might be experiencing.
Second, when an outburst erupts, monitor your own behavior. Anger is contagious. Think about the last time someone cut you off in traffic or yelled at you – weren’t you furious? Yet yelling louder to get your child’s attention won’t work in the long run because your child will begin to learn that Mom and Dad don’t mean business until they scream. Further, yelling only escalates emotions, turning the situation into a battle of who can yell the loudest – and that behavior does nothing to address the root hurt the child feels.
The effective alternative is to respond to your child’s anger calmly and quietly. First, show respect by eliminating name-calling and hurtful words from your vocabulary, and keep yourself from reacting with physical discipline. Once your child’s rage subsides, take a moment before you respond. React with patience and self-control – both fruits of the Spirit, by the way.
Identify with your child’s pain and respond with love. And don’t give up if your child doesn’t respond to your new methods right away. New habits take persistence, patience and time.
God created family and, as a result, desires you to have a rewarding relationship with your child. With God’s direction, you can push through the unfamiliar relational territory to discover new ways of communicating with your teen and positively handling anger.
If your teen is still disrespectful and not reacting to your quiet and calm tones, it may be time to practice tough love.
Parents must clearly communicate to their children that expressing anger through yelling, screaming or verbally attacking others is not appropriate and won’t be tolerated.
Establish clear consequences that will be enforced if your teen manages anger inappropriately. This could mean removing privileges such as video and computer games or participation in a special function with friends. Regardless, it is crucial that you reinforce the idea that showing anger in hurtful ways is not acceptable.
If these methods don’t work, seek outside help. Compass Rose Academy provides services that help build emotional strength and improve family functioning. For more information, contact us today.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.