Angry Teen??? NO WAY!

Sometimes I think the terms anger and teen should be synonymous!  As parents we sometimes see our teen as argumentative, moody, defiant, manipulative, just to name a few.  It’s virtually pointless anymore to try and imagine the connection to what we were doing, thinking, and feeling when we were teens and what teens experience now because so much has changed.  What IS relevant to teens in this day in age compared to what was relevant 10-15 years ago bears minimal resemblance.  Sometimes I look at my five year old and shutter to think of what I will be facing in a few short years!

Most of my teen clients come to me at the request of their parents because “something is just going on with them” their parents will say. Many try and read between the lines and figure out the mystery but often times I am used as the detective in this situation!  Ever too quickly I generally discover an underlying theme of the teen’s low mood, anger outburst, social isolation, sexual identity questions, and we can work towards alleviating some of the negative feelings associated.  One common thread to all of these teen issues is Anger!

Whether anger is stemming from built up resentment towards a friend or family member, a relationship gone bad, pressures in the home, academic success, worry about the future, or a troubled past, anger will always be present and will manifest itself in some form or fashion.  I always like to start out my sessions gathering information and collecting data that I can use to show intensity and frequency of the anger the client is experiencing. Once I am able to grasp their anger then I put together a plan of action to tackle it with the client’s involvement, of course.

Upside & Downside of anger- upside, it is usually just a symptom which can easily be treated with interventions and cognitive behavioral approaches.  Downside, since it is just a symptom, there will likely be a more hearty underlying issue that is causing the anger to present itself.  Getting to the root of this issue and addressing it is a much more difficult task!

So, if you have an “angry teen” and you find yourself asking the questions “what have I done wrong, what can I do better, is it too late to change this, this is so unlike them, what can it be….” what should you do???  First and foremost decide upon a way to communicate to your teen that you care and when and if they are ready to talk to you, they can. Discuss the natural supports in their lives reminding them of who they can turn to when they need help, and always, if their behavior escalates or you are fearful that it will escalate, ask for help from a professional!


Temperaments in Children

Temperaments in children is a topic that has intrigued me since I began working in the field in 2009.  It started as a result of personal experience coupled with the research being done at the time of nature vs. nurture. I saw first hand, parents struggling to solve behavioral challenges in their children that left them with so many questions.  Statements like “they’re just so irritable all the time” to “they worry constantly and I can’t figure out why” “they explode for no reason” led to a greater awareness of how temperaments shape our behavior and SHOULD shape our parenting!

Over the course of the past five years I have worked diligently to be mindful of varying types of temperaments when creating behavior modification plans for my clients  When I ask a parent, have you ever tried this… and they say yes and that didn’t work, I first look at any barriers to the disciplinary interventions (did the parents follow through, were the task demands realistic and doable, were the requirements age-appropriate and achievable,did the child have proper motivation, were the consequences expected).  If none are present I will then look onward to any behavioral data that could lead me to find a suitable intervention.  If we are still not successful after that, I will begin to re-evaluate the child’s temperament.  For example, children who have a low frustration tolerance are going to be triggered more easily and tend to be more emotionally driven.  Imposing strict or harsh demands on these children in an authoritarian approach is not always effective and can intensive emotional dysregulation.  Do any of you have children who if the seam line of their sock isn’t in the perfect position you think their world is coming to an end?  If you said yes, then your child has a distinct temperament and should be parented with this in mind!

I have found that so many of the complaints that parents have to the effect of “my child is being a brat!” is sometimes just a component or quirk of their temperament and personality. We never want to change who our children are, just begin to recognize the differences in their unique temperament and teach skills to help them overcome obstacles  so that they can be the most successful humans possible!

This subject has generated so much interest in my professional practice that I have begun offering parenting consultations focusing on evaluating your child’s temperament and creating a parenting plan tailored to meet your child’s individual needs.  If you are interested in learning more please feel free to contact me.  These  services are not therapeutic in nature and are available via phone, email, skype and in person.

Have a great day and happy parenting 🙂


Parenting Consultations

I am excited to introduce a new professional service !  Please check back or contact me for more information.  Available in person, by phone, email, or skype!

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If you are experiencing any of these parenting challenges call today for a consultation!

Potty Training, ADHD Challenges, Sexual Identity & Orientation, Pre-Teen Mood Swings, Disciplinary Procedures, Body Images Issues

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