| Learn how you and your teen can
stay cool, when anger heats you up
Spring has sprung, summer is just around the corner and … the kids will be out of school before you know it. You may have a teen or two in your household, which can sometimes heat things up a little more on those hot summer days.
The good news is there are some practical ways for you and your teens to stay cool when it comes to anger.
First of all, we need to understand that anger is a natural emotion and everyone gets angry. What's important here is what we do with our anger. Do we act appropriately or inappropriately? Do we use our anger in constructive or destructive ways? At times it may be difficult to control our anger, but some practical anger management "tools" can help your family stay "cool" and have a safe, fun summer!
One of the best anger management tools to have in your "tool kit" is a time out. I am not referring to the type of time out used to discipline a child, but rather one that is used to prevent anger from escalating. If we can remove ourselves from a situation before it gets out of control, then we can usually avoid a negative outcome. When we get angry, we progressively stop thinking clearly, and that's when we can get ourselves in trouble. So taking a time out before things get too heated can really help get the emotions back on track and the brain back in business.
Of course, in the heat of the moment, we don't think as clearly as normal and our thoughts or "self-talk" can become negative and exaggerated, which in turn only adds fuel to the fire. By learning to respond rather than react to a situation, we can save ourselves and those around us a lot of trouble. It's amazing what a difference 10 seconds can make if we will just stop and think before acting.
Teens experience a lot of changes physically, emotionally and socially as they develop. This process can be stressful at times, and as stress increases, so does the potential for anger. The need to manage stress along with anger becomes more important when we think about the damage they can do on our health and our relationships. How do you know whether your teen needs help with his or her anger? First, does your teen get angry often? Does your teens' anger become intense or lead to aggression? If so, then it is likely that your teen needs outside help managing his or her anger.
(Gale M. Haux is a licensed marriage and family therapist and Certified Anger Management Facilitator who conducts a six-week anger management class for teens ages 13 to 16. Contact her at 925-210-6012.)
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