There are a multitude of reasons for teenagers to become angry and even stay angry. This time period is so confusing and unnerving for teenagers. They are trying to figure out who they are and how they are separate people from their parents and families. Sometimes their emotions get the best of them and just like when they were toddlers and trying out how to be their own person. Sometimes when they were toddlers, you would experience their anger and frustration as a temper tantrum. As a teenager, their anger is more of a sullen, quiet anger at times and other times the anger is a lashing out towards you their parent. You are the safest person to take the anger out towards because you are not going to desert your teenager (as much as you would like to).
The following is a list of possible reasons why teenagers might be angry:
1. Teens get angry when they feel misunderstood by their parents.2. They get mad when they feel that their parents are clueless and don’t really understand what goes on in their lives but think you do.
3. They get angry when they are worried about their parents. They don’t know how to express their worry so their default emotion is anger.
4. This will be no surprise but they get angry when you embarrass them. Less is more. They get embarrassed when you try to act like a teen, dress like a teen and/or use teen language. They will not tell you this but they want you to be a parent not a friend.
5. You will be surprised by this one but they get angry at themselves when they disappoint you so what do they do? They direct the anger at you of course. More than anything else your teens do not want to disappoint you
6. They get upset when you compare them to their siblings. More frequently than not they feel that they come up short.
7. Be careful here. When you talk about your teens’ friends in a negative manner they get furious because they identify so closely with their friends. So, if you criticize their friends then they interpret it as a direct criticism of them. There are so many landmines that you can step into that it’s mind-boggling.
8. Please do not use your teens as your confidantes no matter how mature they seem. They are just not ready to help you handle your problems. They are kids, remember.
9. If they are deeply upset about something that they are keeping to themselves they may act angry rather than distressed. It’s just easier for them.
10. Depressed kids often present as angry (especially males). It is not uncommon for depressed male teens to act out when feeling sad.
11. Teens get furious when you talk badly about an ex spouse around them. That ex spouse is still their parent.
12. When you try to solve all of their problems your teens get bent out of shape. They view this as you doubting them. They want to feel that you trust them not doubt them.
13. Teenagers do not appreciate when you turn them into your favorite child. This might put them at odds with their siblings.
14. Do NOT call their teachers, coaches, etc. unless you have spoken to them first. Teenagers do not want you to interfere unless absolutely necessary.
15. They get mad when you ask them how their day was as soon as they walk into the house. They associate this question with an interrogation about their grades. Teenagers need time to decompress and think things over since their day is not over yet.
16. Teenagers cannot tolerate their parents’ intensely emotional reactions.
17. If your teenager shares a secret with you do not share it with your friends. They have entrusted you with precious information.
18. Do not gossip. Teens are particularly sensitive to this. They will see you as critical and judgmental.
19. Try hard to not hold a grudge or hold a silent treatment. It breaks teenagers hearts. You are role modeling this behavior.
20. Try to read their non-verbal cues when they are ready to end a conversation. Body language speaks volumes.
Try as hard as you can to be open to your teenager despite his/her anger. You can set limits on his/her rude behavior saying that you will not accept his/her behavior but that you are available if your teenager should need to talk about what is bothering him/her. If you reacted in a way that might have made your teenager angry, you can repair it by apologizing and talking to your teenager genuinely, listen to their anger, and validate their feelings. Recognizing one’s feelings and learning to manage the anger is a valuable lesson for our teenagers to grasp and practice. Hang in there with your teenagers and provide them with the space and help them to process their anger.