Dealing with Anger – preteen & teenage years

My darling sweet little girl is turning into an angry, cheeky monster! How are will I survive the teenage years!

I have had so many children and teens come to me for help with anger over the years, I work them and describe how our anger can go from 0 to 100 in a few seconds.. and talk to them about how to control it, how to catch yourself as quickly as possible, and bring yourself back to being calm again. Take deep breaths and remind yourself ‘I’m calm and in control’. We talk about how to let things go and how to take action, in a calm way if something is unfair. It is so much easier to help other people’s children, than help your own!

My eldest daughter is 9 and a half, and I know there is a flood of preteen hormones kicking into her little body at the moment. These hormones affects children in different ways, and for some it starts as young as 7 or 8. She is battling against me, yet she loves me fiercely. I am cruel and mean, but she can’t go asleep without a cuddle and a kiss. Her attitude stinks sometimes, and I am putting my foot down, which is hard and making her more angry! How do we win against this hormone induced anger?

I am writing this article to remind myself, and to help any other parents battling angry kids, that our children are:

  • Battling against us to show us they are individuals with their own opinions, ideas and choices.
  • It is our job to guide them but they sometimes they have to make mistakes in order to learn for themselves.
  • We make the rules and set the boundaries and the punishments – but we have to let them know what they are before hand otherwise it is unfair. (Don’t just dish out a punishment on the spot because you’re angry, when you’re child/teen had no idea that this could happen.  Or if you do, just watch how it escalates.)
  • Unfairness (or perceived unfairness) is one of the main reason why people take action in life – such as leave a job, break up a relationship, change a child’s school or emigrate. (of course their are other reasons too, but think about it – its a big reason for changing things) So it makes sense that our children are angry if they think they were treated unfairly, if for example we punish them but they didn’t know what the consequences of their actions were.

Top Tips for a calmer house:

  1. House Rules:

    Make sure the rules of the house are clear and communicated well. The punishments too. If there are no punishments, then best of luck to you. Let me know how that goes… 😉 Parents can decide them in advance on all of this, and then get input from the kids, so that everyone agrees to start with.

  2. Warnings:

    I always try to give one warning, unless their behavior is off the scale bad! It lets them know that there is one last chance. You have to be prepared to follow through on the warnings. When we get lazy and let things slip by it gets so much harder to correct it next time.

  3. Choose your battles:

    Remember too, that we can’t be in control all of the time and its okay to chose your battles.

  4. Practice:

    Our children and teens are growing up, and with it comes growing pains. They have to learn to fight their own corner. You wouldn’t want them to be a quiet wall flower who never says anything to anyone… so allowing them to speak up at home, in their safe place, gives them the practice to stand up for themselves outside of the home.

  5. Stay Calm:
    If you both end up angry things escalate very quickly – it’s game over, if one person remains calm, all is not lost. Remember they are still learning from you and modeling your behavior.Take deep breaths and show them that you can control your anger (yes I know this can be very hard!). Don’t allow the anger to take over and see red. Go back to the rules and the consequences and try to think logically if you can… it calms our emotions down, when we can think logically with our mind. Ask your child/teen a question in the middle of their anger and see if it helps to calm them down.
  6. Siblings:

    If there are siblings involved – which lets face it, there often is, be as fair as you can be. Remember the bit about perceived unfairness causing a lot of trouble. Keep adding to your rules if need be. For example, your kids are fighting and getting angry with each other, and both are saying the other one started it. You have no idea who started it so what do you do? Have a rule that both will be punished for fighting because one of them didn’t walk away, they continued it.

  7. Break the cycle:

    Teach your kids how to break the cycle of arguments – think about the arguments we have in our lives – they are usually the same ones we have over and over about the same things with the same people.. But remember this – you always have a choice – how we react determines how it will end up. We can take a deep breath and walk away (choose your battles) or we can argue/fight it out until everyone is upset and miserable, or we can take action (see below).

  8. Action:

    We can also take action when we’re calm and in control to try and sort out the ongoing /or once off arguments that  happen – have a conversation about it, agree to disagree or come up with some plan to stop the same argument from happening again. I also use this time to tell my kids that I love them no matter what.

That’s all I’ve got – I’m off now, to write up the house rules and practice what I preach.

Spread the calmness 🙂

Caoimhe x

Caoimhe O’Grady Tegart is a Child and Teen Life Coach and runs the Confidence Clinic.

To contact her email: caoimhe@theconfidenceclinic.ie or call 00353833425364

 

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