As my friend and co-host of the Therapy and Rockets podcast says, we all get angry. As adults we get frustrated with our kids, and they get frustrated and angry with us, their friends and themselves. Short of finding inner peace, the best thing to do is to help your teenager identify a few strategies that work, and practice them when emotional tension is low so that they become second nature.
Here are five tools that Nathan recommends from his own work as a teen crisis counselor:
1.Teach them to patch holes in walls- That can be seen as metaphor or a literal thing. If you have a child who punches holes in walls, make sure they repair the walls. The repairing encourages children to own their problems and gives them time to think. As you teach them the art of dry wall, talk to your child and encourage them to verbalize their frustrations. Ask them why they hit the wall. Share positive alternatives. If they try their hardest to repair it and it still looks like crap, make sure you describe it as beautiful
2.Show them the beauty of walking- Walking or any kind of exercise is a great way of reducing anger and stress. First, make sure they are not at risk of running away. Then, ask them to take a walk with you. Now here is the key: Don’t ask them why they are angry. Let the heart start pumping, and they air blow over them. If they bring up why they are pissed, let them. Just listen and don’t offer to fix their problem. By walking with them, you are modeling a positive way to deal with anger and other hurtful feelings.
3. Leave them alone - As long as the child isn’t a harm to themselves or others, it is quite acceptable to leave them alone. Ask them once if they need anything, then walk away. A pestering or over bearing parent can really make them angry.
4. Show them how you handle your anger - Lets face it, you handle anger inappropriately at times. That’s okay. Learn how to handle it and demonstrate positive alternatives. The best way to teach is to model.
5. Love your child - Never forget to show your child that you love them. Don’t just tell them, show them. Sometimes children can be total jerks, but remember they are training to be adults. So cut them some slack…