Close this search box.
Close this search box.

A Parent’s Guide to Dealing with an Angry Teenager


Dealing with an angry teenager can be challenging for any parent. The teen years are tumultuous, and sometimes it can be difficult to  know whether your teen’s anger is normal or out of control. Understanding the signs of anger issues, knowing when to seek help, and learning effective anger management techniques are crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship with your teen. This guide will provide valuable insights and practical tips to navigate through teenage anger and promote positive coping skills.

Recognizing Signs of Anger Issues in a Teenager

Teenagers often express their anger differently than adults. Signs of anger issues in teens may include frequent outbursts, aggressive behavior, withdrawal from family and friends, and difficulty controlling emotions. Paying attention to these signs can help parents intervene early and provide necessary support.

Teenage boy arguing with parent

10 Common Causes of Teen Anger 

  1. Hormonal Changes: Adolescence is marked by significant hormonal fluctuations, which can affect mood regulation and contribute to heightened levels of anger and irritability in teens.
  2. Peer Pressure: Teens often face pressure to conform to social norms and expectations, leading to feelings of frustration or anger when they perceive themselves as falling short or being judged by their peers.
  3. Academic Stress: The demands of schoolwork, exams, and college applications can create intense pressure for teens, leading to feelings of overwhelm and frustration that may manifest as anger.
  4. Family Conflict: Conflict within the family, such as arguments between parents or conflicts with siblings, can significantly impact a teen’s emotional well-being and contribute to feelings of anger or resentment.
  5. Relationship Issues: Romantic relationships or friendships can be sources of stress and conflict for teenagers, especially when faced with issues like betrayal, rejection, or jealousy.
  6. Lack of Control: Feeling powerless or lacking control over their lives can lead to feelings of frustration and anger in teenagers, particularly when they perceive themselves as being restricted or micromanaged by adults.
  7. Trauma or Abuse: Teens who have experienced trauma or abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual, may struggle with intense feelings of anger as a result of unresolved trauma or feelings of betrayal.
  8. Substance Abuse: Drug or alcohol use can exacerbate feelings of anger and aggression in teenagers, impairing their judgment and inhibiting their ability to cope with stressors effectively.
  9. Mental Health Issues: Conditions such as depression, anxiety, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can contribute to mood disturbances and heightened levels of anger in teenagers.
  10. Unresolved Emotions: Teens may struggle to express or process their emotions effectively, leading to feelings of frustration or anger when they feel overwhelmed or misunderstood.
Handling teen Anger

Effective Anger Management Techniques for Teens 

Here are some techniques teens can use to calm down when they’re in crisis:

  1. Deep Breathing: Encourage teens to take slow, deep breaths when they feel anger rising. Inhaling deeply through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth can help calm the nervous system and diffuse intense emotions.
  2. Counting to Ten: Suggest that teens count slowly to ten before reacting to a frustrating situation. This simple technique can provide a moment of pause, allowing them to think more clearly and make better choices in their responses.
  3. Physical Activity: Engaging in physical exercise or activities like jogging, dancing, or playing a sport can help release pent-up energy and reduce feelings of anger. Encourage teens to find healthy outlets for their emotions through movement.
  4. Expressing Feelings: Encourage open communication about emotions. Teens should feel comfortable expressing their feelings to trusted friends, family members, or a therapist. Bottling up emotions can intensify anger, while sharing can provide relief and support.
  5. Problem-Solving: Teach teens problem-solving skills to address the root causes of their anger. Encourage them to identify triggers, brainstorm solutions, and implement positive coping strategies to manage difficult situations effectively.

The Impact of Teen Anger

Unmanaged anger in teenagers can have detrimental effects on their well-being and relationships. It may lead to social isolation, academic difficulties, substance abuse, and even involvement in violent behavior. It can also make siblings feel unsafe. Recognizing the potential consequences of teen anger underscores the importance of proactive intervention.

Coping Skills for Parents

Dealing with a teenager’s anger can be emotionally taxing for parents. It’s essential to prioritize self-care and seek support when needed. Maintain open lines of communication with your teen, validate their feelings, and model healthy coping skills. Remember that seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, but a proactive step towards supporting your teenager’s well-being—and your own.

When to Seek Help

If your teenager’s anger is significantly impacting their daily life, relationships, or safety, seeking professional help is crucial. A mental health professional can assess their needs, provide therapy or counseling, and offer valuable resources for both the teenager and their family.

Mother consoling her teenager

How Parents Can Support Their Angry Teen Through Aggression & Violent Outbursts

When faced with aggression and violent outbursts from their teenager, parents can provide crucial support by remaining calm and empathetic. Prioritize your physical safety and the safety of anyone in the environment. Avoid escalating the situation and encourage verbal expression of feelings. Listen actively and validate emotions while offering alternative coping strategies like deep breathing exercises. Establish clear boundaries and consequences, focusing on teaching rather than punishing. If the aggression persists or if there are underlying mental health issues, it may be time to seek professional help. But don’t worry: with patience, empathy, and appropriate support, parents can help their angry teen learn to manage emotions and behaviors in healthier ways.

Find Guidance and Support for Your Teen at Evolve Treatment

If your teenager is struggling with anger issues, don’t wait to seek help. Contact Evolve today to connect with experienced professionals who can provide the support and resources your teen needs to effectively manage their anger. Take the first step towards a happier and healthier future for your family by reaching out today.

Have more questions about your teen’s anger and violent outbursts? Evolve’s Parent Guides are designed to help you and your family identify ways you can help your teen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Anger 

What mental disorders cause anger issues in teens? 

Some mental disorders that can cause anger issues in teens include oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder, intermittent explosive disorder (IED), and mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder.

What is the diagnosis for children with angry outbursts? 

Children with angry outbursts may receive a diagnosis of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) if their symptoms align with the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

What medication is used for anger outbursts in teens? 

Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), mood stabilizers like lithium or anticonvulsants, and atypical antipsychotics may be prescribed for teens experiencing anger outbursts, depending on the underlying mental health condition and the severity of symptoms.

How can parents differentiate between normal teen moodiness and concerning anger issues?

Persistent and intense anger that significantly impacts daily functioning, relationships, and academic performance may indicate underlying issues beyond typical adolescent mood swings.

Can anger in teenagers be a sign of a mental health disorder?

Yes, anger issues in teenagers can be symptomatic of underlying mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), or disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD).

What role does parenting style play in teenage anger?

Parenting styles characterized by inconsistency, neglect, over-control, or lack of warmth can contribute to teenage anger and behavioral issues. Positive and supportive parenting can help mitigate anger problems.

How can schools support teenagers struggling with anger?

Schools can provide counseling services, implement anger management programs, foster a supportive and inclusive environment, educate students about emotional regulation, and collaborate with parents and mental health professionals to address individual needs.

What are the long-term effects of untreated anger issues in teenagers?

Untreated anger issues in teenagers can lead to strained relationships, academic failure, legal problems, substance abuse, and increased risk of developing mental health disorders in adulthood.

Where can parents and teenagers find additional support and resources for managing anger?

Parents and teenagers can seek support from mental health professionals, school counselors, support groups, online resources, and community organizations specializing in adolescent mental health and anger management.

Related Posts

Enjoying these insights?

Subscribe here, so you never miss an update!

Connect with Other Parents

We know parents need support, too. That is exactly why we offer a chance for parents of teens to connect virtually in a safe space! Each week parents meet to share resources and talk through the struggles of balancing child care, work responsibilities, and self-care.

More questions? We’re here for you.