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Adolescents face many emotional issues regarding identity, separation, relationships and purpose during this age of development. Their bond with their parents also changes as teens become more independent. Parents often have a difficult time dealing with this, leading to frustration, confusion and anger, setting up a pattern of reactive behavior for both parents and teens. This sets up a self-reinforcing pattern of interaction. And anger issues come to the surface.
Anger is a human emotion. Adolescents differ from adults in expression of anger as the brain is still developing. So, adolescents rely on the part of the brain called the amygdala which processes emotional reactions such as “fight or flight” causing teens to react atypically, to act out of control, and display violent anger. Almost 1 in 5 teenagers have issues managing their anger and is one of the most common mental health disorders in adolescents.
Adolescent anger is a feeling, an emotion, not a behavior and more than 40 percent of adolescents admit to feeling some sort of anger. Teenage anger is triggered from external and internal situations.
There are many reasons why your child could appear to be more angry than other kids. One of them is prolonged treatment of your controlling behaviour. This can cause conflicts with authority figures leading to stress and anger. Teenagers want self-reliance and independence.
Your child’s emotions may become stronger and more intense during puberty since the hormones testosterone and estrogen released at this time cause a variety of difficult-to-control emotions. A youngster that is worried may also appear irate, domineering, or reactive. In fact, they can experience more frequent, erratic mood swings.
Stress comes through social situations, school pressures, and after school activities and often overwhelms teenagers, creating anger. Teenagers have to face multiple stressors at family, school and environmental stressors leading to crisis situations. They still remain dependent on adults for survival. Anger can also be caused by traumatic life events like divorce cases, loss of dear ones, brutal accidents, and even breakups leading to a sense of numbness or fear. This can develop trust issues and they are unable to look at the positive side of the situation.
Medical conditions such as bipolar disorders, ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, oppositional defiant disorder can be associated with anger. Depression is common amongst adolescents. If there is no outlet for anger, these emotions are turned inwards leading to guilt and self blame, loss of self esteem and self confidence, self harm or punishment in different ways. Suppressed emotions can lead to anxiety, panic attack, depression and suicidal tendencies may also occur. Adolescents with intermittent explosive disorder express as arrogant, aggressive, and violent behavior indulging in conflicts 90 percent of the time.
Alcohol, drugs, and smoking reduces the capacity to think clearly. It leads to poor thinking, lack of focus, lack of inhibitions, aggression leading to almost 60 percent of violent behavior and crimes.
Everyone experiences rage and fluctuating anger from time to time, but it’s more common in adolescents who are dealing with puberty and other adolescent challenges. Parents need to be aware of certain red flags. It’s time to seek expert assistance if you spot one or more of these symptoms.